The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of Scripture. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show.
Can the young generation of Americans, Millennials, Gen Z, and younger, can they be reached with a gospel and even the message of morals and patriotism? Hi, Alex McFarland here. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. I wish you could see what I'm seeing, because I'm with a very valued friend and colleague, Dave Glander. We're in rural Georgia, a beautiful Christian camp. We're out seeing nature and all of God's creation. But the most beautiful thing of all, we're with dozens of teenagers that are soaking up the message of a biblical worldview.
We're going to talk about that, about the spiritual status of America's youth, and what can be done to impart to them the message of the gospel, and just truth and love of our country, and the God that raised it up. First of all, I want to make an introduction of Dave Glander of Equip, of Reasons for Hope. So many things I could say, but Dave, you're a valued friend and colleague. You've been on the program many times, and so welcome back to the Alex McFarland Show. Thank you.
It's always a direct honor to be here, because I love you, and I love our friendship, and so any time to be with you is awesome, man. Well, ditto, ditto. And by the way, folks, if you hear some ambient background noises because we're at a camp, and there's a lot going on. But how long have you been doing the Equip summer camps, Dave? This is our ninth year, and after nine years, I am so convinced that this model just works. You know, the first year was an experiment. Second year was like, this seems like it's working. By the third or fourth year, I was like, oh, this works.
And by the ninth year, I'm like, if you don't get your kids here, you are just making a mistake. What do you talk about? I know what I teach on when you have me to come in. Why camp? Why unplugging and pulling away, getting out into the natural world for a few days?
What does that do for kids, and what do you teach? So I looked at it like this. Churches are going to have camps anyways. You know what I mean?
Like, they're already going to do it. That's just a model that has been going through churches forever, is they're going to take their kids somewhere. So I'm looking at—and my son, I was sending my son to camps. And he would come home, and I would be like, what did you get out of this? And he would say, oh, Jesus is awesome. And then I would say, well, what was your big takeaway? And he would say, worship was great.
I'd say, but what was the one thing that stuck out? Three days later, he'd forget that he was even at camp. And so I was like, well, how do we change this? So if they're already going, how do we take the camp experience and alter that to the point where—that's why we call it equip, where we're equipping them while they're here. And so it's an apologetics-based summer camp. At this particular camp, they have zip line over the lake and a giant swing. They have the entire camp experience. However, this is different, because we take them in four times a day during the day, and they have two apologetics messages, and then they defend their case. They split them into groups, and they work together as a group on how to take the information they're getting, and they're going to make a defense back on Thursday for all the information they've got. And then at night, what we do is—so during the day, it's like a head check, like a mind check. And then during the nighttime, we do more of a full worship set, more of an evangelical message, because we're trying to connect the heart to the mind. And so it just works.
I mean, when you give the kids the resources that we're giving them in an apologetics mode, all of a sudden you see the light go off, and they're like, man, I didn't know that I could actually have a substantiated faith. And they get that. And I've got—there's some here that have been here eight of the nine years.
They didn't come the first year, but they've been here eight years. That's how much it works. They just—they love it. Well, it really does work, and I'm glad that you talk about not only ministering to the mind, but to the heart. And it is a fully-orbed program that you do. I mean, there's worship, there is letting the Holy Spirit speak and talking about your relationship with Jesus. But then there's the intellectual component of Christianity, which I think far too often is neglected. And for those listening to the program, you know that our ministry, Truth for New Generation, Alex McFarland Ministries, we do a camp, too.
You and I, we need to really link arms, because we don't need to reinvent the wheel. And let's talk about that. You know, I want to hear how you got into apologetics, Dave Glander.
And first of all, give your website. I know you've probably got an online presence, but after telling us your website, how did you get into apologetics? All right, so you can go—the ministry I'm with is called Reasons for Hope, and the website address is rforh.com.
Reasons for Hope is just shortened, rforh.com. I got into apologetics. I was a 30-year atheist my whole life.
I mean, I grew up in public school. Darwin had it figured out. I didn't need God. I was told I didn't need God. Nobody ever told me I needed God. I was told I didn't need God. Nobody ever told me I needed God.
Long story short, we're in the elevator, we're going to the 13th floor. So when I met God, I was a 105-pound meth addict, and I was living pretty much homeless and everything else. And I went back to—I had abandoned my wife and my son, and I went back to the house one night, and she was reading this book called Knowing Jesus Personally. And I just started mocking that book, started mocking her for reading the book. I'm the 105-pound meth addicted homeless guy who had abandoned his family, and I'm questioning what she's doing by reading this book.
The irony there doesn't escape me. So I started mocking the book, I started mocking her, and then I started mocking God. And I called God every name under the sun.
I didn't think anybody was listening. I was just so frustrated with life. I was suicidal. And I started just to yell at God, and I finally said, if you're God, do something about it.
And Alex, I don't remember exactly what happened. All I know is I feel like I woke up the next day, meth addiction completely gone. Everything that made me me was completely gone. And as an atheist, that doesn't happen, because that was something supernatural. Now, let me ask you this, though, Dave. Was there ever a time previous to this that you had believed in God?
No. When I was 12, Ben Bellinger's family took me to church for about a month. You know what's weird, Alex, if you want my honest answer? I think about this often, because when I went to their church, I did the whole, you know, raise your hand if you said this prayer thing, and this guy gave me a Bible. So I said that prayer when I was 12, but for the next 18 years, I spit in his face. But 18 years later, he rescued me. So did he hear that prayer 18 years prior? Just like me, and you've heard the story of how I filled out a little booklet when I was in second grade.
You know, I found that booklet not too long ago in my little second-grade scrawl. I had written my name at the bottom of a prayer, but yet I went out and cursed and took the Lord's name in vain, I'm very sorry to say. But at 21, in college, God radically opened my eyes to a Monday night Bible study. I started going to a Monday night Bible study, because I was trying to pursue Angie, you know, that five years later I would marry. But Angie was like, you know, I'm not going to date a guy who's not a Christian, so you can come to the Bible study and we'll think about going out someday, maybe. And I went, had completely ulterior motives, but I found Jesus. The question is, did I get saved at 21 or back in second grade, although it took 20 years to show any fruit?
That's interesting, because I've wrestled with that. Like, did I get saved at 12? Let's just put it this way.
If I got saved at 12, and then literally I spit in his face for the next 18 years, I wasn't just not acting like a Christian, I was going out of my way to just do filthy things, because that was all I knew, you know. If that's the case, man, isn't that a picture of grace and mercy? Like, we've never, like, words can't embrace that.
If that's, man. We've got to take a brief break, but I want to say this. Maybe you're running from God, and maybe you're trying to do your utmost to get God to give up on you and leave you alone. The Lord will not give up on you, dear listener. You might be telling yourself that you are beyond hope, you have blown it one time to me.
No. The Lord will patiently, patiently wait on you, because he loves you. Stay tuned. We're going to come back after this brief break and continue our conversation with evangelist, apologist, ministry strategist David Glander on this edition of the Alex McFarland Show. Stay tuned. Don't go away.
We're back in a moment. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics. Teaching in more than 2,200 churches around the world, schools, and college campuses, Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith, while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit alexmcfarland.com or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at alexmcfarland.com.
He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. Dave Glander and I were just kind of enjoying talking about the goodness of God, and God is so patient with us. You found the Lord. God got a hold of your life. What apologetics subject area brought you in first?
I mean, some people are into like evidence for the resurrection or evidence for the manuscripts of the Bible. What was your first entry point to apologetics, Dave? After I had my encounter, I knew a God had to have done it.
I didn't know which God did it. So I started studying Buddhism. That didn't add up. Started studying Islam.
That didn't add up. And then my mother-in-law gave me a case for Christ from Lee Strobel. Man, it was the exact moment that I got to the chapter about the historicity of Christ that totally changed everything for me. That was the moment that I found the God who did it to me, because I just thought Jesus was kind of a made up, maybe like a legend or a myth, someone that had the personality that you want to emulate. He was a good guy, whatever people thought of him.
I never even considered him being an actual real person. It was a sweet story that is inspirational to millions of people. And then suddenly you get this epiphany, this is real.
This really happened. When I hit that point where it was like he was a historical figure, from first century enemy testimony, I wasn't reading the Bible to find this out. I was reading first century enemy testimony. All of a sudden it was like, hold on. And I picked up the word and started to read it. And when I started to read the word, all of a sudden the grace and mercy that had been given to me, 18 years later, when he finally rescued me from myself, all of a sudden, because again, Buddhism didn't answer that and Islam couldn't answer that, and all these, Christianity, the Gospels, all of a sudden answered why I had peace for the first time in my life, for that matter. Why I felt that forgiveness and that grace and that mercy, the Gospels explained it. So I didn't have to look for which God did it anymore. But that was the start of my apologetics mode. It was like, hold on, what else don't I know?
You know what I mean? Like if I didn't know he existed for 30 years, what else don't I know? And so I started, and in apologetics, you're supposed to like pick a lane and stay in it, like resurrection apologetics or creation apologetics.
I've got ADD apologetics, man. I just started studying everything. Like, was Darwin correct? And oh man, I love tearing Darwinism down. Like I just, I love, it's so easy to tear evolution down and just all those things. Like what else don't I know? And what else did I believe a lie all those years?
Well, let me ask you this, and this is a question out of left field. In your opinion throughout world history, what is the second worst thing that ever befell the human race, second only to the fall of Genesis 3? I mean there's the Holocaust under Adolf Hitler, there's the emergence of Islam around 622 AD, and certainly there's been a lot of not only bloodshed but spiritual darkness. Dave, in your opinion, what is the second worst thing that ever befell the human race, secondly only to the fall of Genesis 3?
For me that's a very simple answer. Relativism. Modern relativism. It has shut down truth. It has shut down the ability to find truth in this generation. It's shut down God's truth. It's shut down morality. It's shut down ethics.
It's shut down everything. Like if relativism – not if relativism takes over, because it has taken over. I deal with this all the time, especially in youth ministry. Now let's define it. Relativism.
Please define. Your truth is only true for you and not for me. Or my truth is only true for me and not for you. That's this idea that everybody gets to invent their own truth.
And so with that thought – which it's a self-defeating statement. I mean if your truth is only true for you, then why are you telling me? Because your truth doesn't apply to me, you know what I mean? It's absolutely true. There's no truth.
Yeah. Well, and that's you can't know truth. I'm like if you can't know truth, how do you know that? You know what I'm saying? Like all those thoughts are self-defeating, but unfortunately those thoughts have taken over.
That's what's ruling – sin was the first thing that entered into the world that was a thing to ruin humanity, but relativism has shut down our ability to even define sin. We can't even define it anymore, because the boundaries have been erased. Now all of a sudden it's like – you know, and I asked the question. I'm like, okay, so a Saudi guy, it's okay for him to take a little girl as a wife. Is that okay? And the relative will say, well, sure, that's what they believe over in Saudi. That's their truth for them. Yeah, that's their truth for them, so it's okay. And I'm like, okay, well, what if the Saudi moved next door to you and takes your daughter to be – is it still okay?
Because this isn't a location thing. And immediately they – I've only met one person who actually said, well, I have to deal with it. I wouldn't agree with it, but I'd have to deal with it, because that's his truth. All the rest of the relativists are like, well, no, he can't do that. I'm like, well, what is the difference then? But do you see what I'm saying? Like the identity of absolute truth has been erased. And we know that Jesus is not just – truth isn't just an idea or a concept.
It's a person. He said, I am the truth. So relativism has erased Jesus from our culture, because now, especially with Christianity, I mean, we're just, you know, bigots and dogmatic and we're all these different names, because we hold to a standard of absolute truth. You know what's even worse than relativism? It's Christian relativism. It's worked its way inside the church.
Oh, my goodness, it really has. And goodness, I get emails, probably even as we're recording this, I'm getting emails from people who say, how dare you condemn homosexuality. Because to the homosexual, that's what they believe, so it's true for them. How dare you tell them their truth isn't true? How would you have responded to this? I was in Virginia, and I was – you know, during the Q&A, they asked me about, you know, the biblical worldview, and invariably there will be questions about homosexuality, transgenderism.
A woman came up, and these people were a long time involved in church. She said, Alex, I hear what you're saying, but your tune will change when it's somebody you love. Define love, though. Wouldn't love compel you to tell the truth, even if it hurts? I mean, it's like, when I loved my son when he was growing up – I mean, I still love my son. It sounded like I don't love my son. When he was growing up and I loved him, I was putting boundaries in there. I was not allowing him to do certain things, and it was out of love, even though he didn't think it was smart, because he wanted to do it. I knew better, and because of my love, I was compelled to stop him from doing things.
If I saw a train coming at you at some point, I'm going to be compelled to knock you off the track if you're not going to listen. And so homosexuality – let me say this, the church has gotten it really wrong on how we approach homosexuality, because we feel like we need to bludgeon them with this, like, you know, you're going to hell sort of mentality, right? And I'm like, look, Jesus is the one that does the change. We need to love them enough to get them the gospel and allow Jesus to change them, but we need to love them enough to give them the gospel. And the gospel is painful sometimes. It hurts sometimes. Alex, the Bible steps on my toes a lot. Even though I think I'm pretty sanctified by now, you know, I'm still trying to do my thing, it still steps on my toes a lot.
It's okay. And if you're wrestling with that idea of homosexuality and what God says about it, God loves you enough to tell you that, man, he's all about family. He wants to bless you. And unfortunately, that's going to hold back some of his blessings. So when you say, like, your tune will change if somebody you love, it's like, no, it won't.
I will love them enough, and I'm compelled enough to share that. And let's hope, as Christians, that we love the Son of God so much that, irrespective of circumstances, we will stand for the Word of God. John 10 35, one of my favorite verses, Jesus said, the Scripture cannot be broken. The Son of God, who gave his life for us to be forgiven, said Scripture cannot be broken.
So yes, we love our neighbor, our nephew, or whomever, but we love even more the one who gave his life for us to be saved. Now stay tuned. We're going to talk more with Dave Glander about the spiritual state of America's youth when the Alex McFarland show comes back. Don't go away. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.
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He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. So honored to be at Woodlands Christian Camp down in Georgia. You know, we've got coming up the Cove, July 8 through 10, and you can go to thecove.org. We've got our own Christian camp, Unashamed, Building Your Biblical Worldview. But also, folks, the Viral Truth Campus Clubs. Listen, we're praying, as I record this, it's summer of 2022.
In about 60 days, school will resume. We're trying to charter 50 more viral truth clubs. Your middle schoolers, your high schoolers can lead their friends to Christ and end the viral truth clubs. We talk about God and country. We talk about not only the gospel and defending the Christian faith, but we talk about patriotism and loving America and why we should not be Marxist, relativist, chaotic, post-truth, dystopian Americans. We're telling kids how they can stand up for truth and for this country. They're loving it. If you're interested in us helping you and your teens charter a viral truth club in your community, just email me. My email is super easy, alexatalexmcfarland.com.
That's alexatalexmcfarland.com, and you can go to our website alexmcfarland.com as well. But Dave, let's get back to this idea of relativism, because I think, and especially as it relates to young people, we're in a crisis of truth. Is that an overstatement, or is it fair to say, you know, our country with defunding the police and not recognizing the rule of law?
I saw yesterday where the DC mayor broke the law and is allowing in Washington, DC, only flags with 51 stars, because DC is now demanding statehood, which everybody knows will only add more liberal leverage. We're not recognizing the rule of law. So culturally, politically, even relationally, and certainly spiritually, are we, Dave Glander, in a crisis of truth? I got two answers to that, yes and no. Yes is the predominant answer, because we're not doing a good enough job getting truth to this next generation. That's causing a crisis of faith absolutely, or a crisis of truth, because we're just failing at doing it. My other answer though is no, because Alex, like right now, we're at Equip Retreat, and we've got 88 kids in there, and I'm seeing the lights go off. I'm seeing it.
I don't have to wonder or read a statistic or anything like that. I'm seeing when they receive the truth, there's no longer a crisis of truth. They are owning it, and at Equip, we make them own their material too, right? So I'm seeing it.
So if we did a better job of equipping the generation, then my answer would be no, but my predominant answer is yes, because we're just not doing a good enough job. Mark Cahill has a saying. He says, do you care? Yeah. Do you care enough? Do we care enough to get out of our comfort zone, have difficult conversations? Do we care enough to maybe put down the second job and live a little bit more modestly so that we can spend more time with our kids, getting them the information that they need, having dinner with them? Do we care enough to take their cell phones away from them until they're at an age where they can have a developed brain enough, but we're the ones sowing information? Do we care enough to have these hard things, these hard changes that we need to make in America to bring our generation back to truth? Because I'm telling you, I'm going back to my no answer.
You're here with me. You're seeing how plugged in they are. You're seeing the answers they're giving back. They're hungry. They're starving for truth.
So if we did a better job, no, but if we don't, we're in trouble. So I'm in Camden, New Jersey, and some kids came up during a break. We had a disciple weekend.
It was great. And you know, Dave, you know, you and I have worked together for a long time. I talked to these middle schoolers with the same vocabulary I use when I teach graduate students. So in Camden, New Jersey, some teens came up and there was a young lady and she was 16. I quote her in one of her books. She said, we just want to say thank you. She said, thank you for treating us like we've got some intelligence.
And this is pretty much verbatim. She said, most of the adult leaders think we're mush heads. And she said, it's, you know, pizza, it's some games, activities. She said, but you came and you talked to us like we have some intelligence. Now listen to what this and these young men are nodding in agreement. She said, we're hungry.
We want meat and we're ready for it. Listen, I teach at the same level. I don't care if you're 99 or nine, I teach at the same level because I truly have seen that man, these kids look, these kids can pick up a phone and be texting or whatever they're doing, playing a video game at the same time, eating lunch, doing their homework while doing, you know what I mean? Like they're multifunctional in this generation to the point where you, you have to treat them as an intellectual because man, by a year and a half old, I was barely walking. They're working iPads.
You know what I mean? Like this, we're dealing with a different generation than we've ever had before. If any generation, we've always had smart people when they're younger.
I'm not saying that, but this generation is different because of how involved they are with, with all of the different elements that are being, you know, tickled all the time. We have got to engage them at that level and they can handle it. They can absolutely handle it.
They absolutely can. And let me say, folks, there is really no such thing as a vacuum. Something will fill the human mind. Something will fill the heart. Something will arrest the priorities of young people. And so, Dave, for one thing, I want to say thank you because you and I both, at a time when a lot of guys are just sort of winding down and kicking back, you and me, we've, we've hit the gas pedal.
You know, I mean, pre-COVID I, for 20 years, I spoke in 150 to 170 cities a year, and even now post-COVID, I'm easily doing, I don't know, 20 states a year, and so are you. But part of it is because the generation has a need, but part of it is because of the joy. And we've only got about a minute, but I want you to comment on this. I mean, think about it. God is real. The Bible is true. Compelling lines of evidence underscore the truth of the Bible.
Jesus is risen. Isn't the biblical worldview and Christianity worth being excited about? It's motivational.
It's energizing. It's worth pouring out your life for because the Christian worldview, this is reality. It would be like if I found a million dollars and then I found a box next to it that had a million dollars and then a box next to that. And I took my box and never went and told anybody about the million dollars. You know what I mean? Like, why would you not tell somebody about the box that's got their name on it?
Because each box has a name on it. This is way more than a million dollars. This is life-changing. It's life-all. I have peace and joy that most people who aren't saved will never understand. Why would you not tell somebody about that? That's the—Alex, I've never understood that part where it's like, well, I'm afraid to share my faith.
Then you don't have any. Like, if you're afraid to share it, I don't think you have any, because the faith that I've got, the life that I live, I want to share that with people because, man, it's exhilarating. It's a rush. Look, man, I did every drug there was.
This is way more of a rush than any drug I've ever done. And it's our assignment, because the Lord said, go into all the world, make disciples. I'm going to say this, and I'm going to give you the final word. I believe for a Christian, if you're a born-again believer, you're either a witness for Christ or you're in disobedience. Yeah, I have a saying, there's no such thing as a stagnant Christian. You're either moving away from God or towards God. You're not—no such thing as just staying in place.
If you're staying in place, that's actually moving backwards. So I just want to say, go to rforh.com. We're a resource ministry, man.
Everything we do is for free. We have a free app you can download in your app store, Reasons for Hope. Download it, use it. There's a ton of content on there that will give you a strong foundation to stand bold on the Word of God, and then go do it. So, folks, your mission, should you choose to accept it, to paraphrase an old TV show, number one, if you don't know Christ, obviously today, call on Jesus.
He's as close by as a prayer. If we can help you in your understanding salvation, just email us. Go to my website, alexmcfarland.com. There's a tab, a booklet that's been printed a quarter million times in several languages, called What Does God Say About My Relationship With Him?
Beyond that, let me challenge you, if you're a young person, be an influence to your friends. If we can help you start a viral truth biblical worldview club, reach out to us. May God bless you. May God empower you to stand for truth.
Tell somebody about Jesus today, and may God bless you as you go forth. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ, and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at alexmcfarland.com. You may also reach us at alexmcfarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-Yes-God-1. That's 1-877-Y-E-S-G-O-D-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show.
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