The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events analyzed through the lens of Scripture.
Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. The church in every generation is called to present, explain, and if need be, defend the Bible. Even many Bible verses talk about that.
Probably the most famous one is 1 Peter 3.15 that says that we are to set apart Christ as Lord in our heart and be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that we have. Hi, Alex McFarland here. Folks, this is a broadcast you do not want to miss.
I'm so excited about the very special guest, author, and speaker that you're going to meet in just a moment, Alan Parr. But the subject, among others, we'll talk about is apologetics. Now you've heard that word, and maybe that word sounds kind of intimidating like a big theological word, but it's a Bible word. And it really is a calling and a discipline that all Christians are assigned with, apologetics. Now let me say what apologetics is not. Apologetics is not apologizing.
It's not about apologizing at all. Really, the word apologetics means a reasoned defense. And so right now we're going to have a visit with someone who is a national apologist. God is using this man to just wonderfully, effectively equip and inspire so many people, not only as a speaker and a broadcaster. He's a published author. His name is Alan Parr.
He's got a brand new book, Misled, Seven Lies That Distort the Gospel and How You Can Discern the Truth. And Alan, I want to say two things. One, thank you for being with us today. But also, I want you to know how I thank God that He has raised you up. And I just wish that we had many, many more Alan Parrs out there doing exactly what you're doing. Oh, well, thank you so much, Alex. I'm really excited to be on this program and excited for our conversation today.
Indeed. Now, folks, Alan and I are at a convention called National Religious Broadcasters. And if you hear a lot of noise in the background, that's a good thing, actually, because this is a big convention where ministries like Alan's strategize on how to fulfill the Great Commission.
So any background noise, it's because we're at a big gathering of Christian ministries. I want to talk about your book, but I'm always interested to know how people get into apologetics. And I know you and I have a very close mutual friend, Dr. Sean McDowell, and he speaks so highly of you. And I know you're a graduate of Dallas Seminary. Kudos, one of the great institutions. But give us a little bit of your background, Alan, and how you came to know the Lord and how you got into apologetics.
Yeah. So thankfully, I came to know the Lord at an early age. My father led me to the Lord whenever I was eight years old. But I would say between the ages of eight and about 19 or 20 or so, I didn't really have a personal relationship with Jesus. I was kind of going through the motions, I was going to church, doing all the different things that most Christians do. But I never really read my Bible, never prayed, really wasn't interested in going to church, just kind of went along with the, you know, whatever people said that you're supposed to do. And so it really wasn't until my early 20s, when I had a true encounter with the Lord for myself, where I realized that being a Christian is a whole lot more than just going through the motions. I had to develop a personal relationship with Christ.
So I went to seminary after a couple of years working as an engineer. And even after seminary, I wouldn't say that I was comfortable as an apologist, because I learned all of theology and the hermeneutics in terms of how to study the Word of God. But when it came to answering some of the most difficult questions about our faith, I wouldn't say that probably didn't really become a huge part of my life until my early 30s. And that really stemmed out of people just asking me questions about what I believe and why I believe that I knew the basics about Christianity.
And I knew theology, but people were asking some very difficult questions about God, about morality, about all sorts of different things, creation. And so I said, I need to gird myself up and make sure that I'm ready, as you mentioned earlier, to give an answer or defense or apologia for what I believe and why I believe it. And so that's kind of where my interest in apologetics grew and it kind of took off from there. Don't you feel like apologetics, it really has a two-fold benefit. God can use it to persuade the lost, but God really uses it to strengthen and empower the believer too, doesn't He?
Oh, absolutely. I've said that quite a bit, is that if you're a Christian and you're unsure in any way about what you believe, apologetics will not only strengthen what you believe so that you're more confident about your own faith so that you know, okay, yeah, I'm following a faith that can be trusted, a faith that has answers, faith that is credible, but it also prepares you so that at any moment you'll be ready to be able to defend what you believe because many other religions in the world, they are trained from an early age to know what they believe and why they believe it, even though they don't have the truth. And we, out of all people, have the truth.
And so we should make sure that we are making a priority to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have. I want to throw a quote at you from more than 100 years ago, and then I want your response maybe in light of the 21st century church. There was a man named G.K. Chesterton, very influential in the life of C.S.
Lewis, and in 1908 he wrote a book about Thomas Aquinas. But in the introduction, Chesterton says this, and this was, you know, 1908, he said, as much as we need to win the loss to Christianity, more and more we need to win the Christians to Christianity. Now, I read that quote the other day, and I'm like, wow, that is very timely, very prescient, because here in 2023, as you and I record this, and look, I love the church. I love the church. You know, we are to love the bride as Jesus laid down his life for the bride. But sometimes I feel like we need to win the church to Christianity.
Do you feel that sometimes? Yeah, I really 100% agree with that, because, you know, as I've been in ministry now 25 years and been doing online ministry for eight years, you know, what I have learned is that there is a lot of people who profess to be a Christian, because they grew up in church, or maybe they've gone to church for a long period of time, but when you really press them and you ask them what they believe and why they believe it, many professing Christians don't have a Christian worldview. They don't have a Christian worldview about the Trinity. They don't have a Christian worldview about the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and whether Christ is the only way to get to heaven. You know, even Barna polls will show that, you know, Christians all over the world believe various things that are not necessarily consistent with a Christian worldview. So I really agree with that perspective, that we need to make sure that we as Christians are believing in a Christian way. We're talking with Alan Parr, and my heart is just overflowing here.
I'm thanking God that Alan Parr has been raised up. He's got a brand new book called Misled, Seven Lies That Distort the Gospel, and How You Can Discern Truth. It's published by Thomas Nilsen, one of the great Christian publishers of all time, for sure.
Okay, we've got to take a brief break. What's your website? Yeah, the website is alanparr.com, but if they want to get their hands on the book, it's misledbook.com, and they can pre-order it or order it. The website is misledbook.com. That's spelled M-I-S-L-E-D, misledbook.com, and your own website is? alanparr.com.
Alanparr.com. Stay tuned, folks. We're going to come back and talk about some of the basic definitions, like what is the gospel, and what is apologetics, and why this matters to each and every one of us. Don't go away. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.
Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly, and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God, morality, and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism. It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here, and I want to make you aware of my book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed, and they've got a vested interest in power, and many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, The Assault on America, We Can Stand Up for Our Great Nation and Defend America Before It's Too Late.
It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own website, which is alexmcfarland.com. Read the book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. If you had to define the gospel, if somebody asks you, what is the good news?
Are you prepared to explain what that is? Welcome back. Alex McFarland here. We're talking with Alan Parr, author of a wonderful brand new apologetics book, Misled, Seven Lies That Distort the Gospel. And Alan, I want to say thank you for what you're doing for the sake of truth.
This is really great, and already as you and I are having this conversation, I'm planning conferences in my head, because we do a lot of events around the country, and I would love to partner with you more. So let me lay something out there, and you just comment if you would. Before the break you mentioned some of the Barna studies, the Pew Research Forum, the National Studies on Youth and Religion.
I could give a lot of hard numbers and hard data. The fact is, we're not passing the faith on to other people. And 25 years ago when I was a youth pastor, we talked about young people not knowing what the gospel is. But today we're talking about seasoned grown-ups, been in church for years, even clergy, that really don't have a handle on who is the Lord Jesus, and what does it mean to know Jesus. What do we do, Alan?
What's your approach to addressing some of these deficiencies? Yeah, well, that's very true, because it's interesting that I would probably say that if you ask the average Christian, hey, can you explain the gospel? Or are you prepared to share the gospel with someone? If someone were to come up to you right now and say, hey, I want to be a Christian. Can you show me how to be a Christian?
What would that look like? I want to go out on a limb here and suggest that there could be a large percentage of people who claim to be Christian that would probably say, hey, well, let me take you to my pastor. Let me bring you to the church.
My pastor will do all that. And it's like, no, as Christians, we're called to be able to lead people to Christ, and we need to know the gospel for ourselves. And so, you know, when I talk to people who may not know what the gospel is, I say it's very simple. There's bad news and there's good news, right?
Keep it very simple. The bad news is that you and I are sinners. We deserve death. We deserve to be separated from God.
God is a holy God. We are sinful people. And God cannot have fellowship with sinful people, because part of his character is justice. He has to judge sin.
And that's the bad news. We're separated from God from our sin. But the good news is that Jesus Christ took on our sin, and he decided to die on the cross, on our behalf. And God loved us so much, the famous John 3.16 verse, that he gave his only begotten son, so that all we have to do is believe upon Jesus Christ, and we will have everlasting life. And, you know, then God is able to deal with us from a place of love rather than a place of wrath. So these are just some of the conversations that I have with people who might be confused about the gospel. Amen.
Well, that's true. And you were talking about the church. And I know we often say the church, but, you know, now we can't paint with such a broad brush.
I mean, even within one denomination, there can be just a wide variety of people that are solidly biblical to wildly anti-biblical. So let's talk about a term that we're hearing more and more progressive Christianity. What is progressive Christianity, Alan, and why is that a danger? Yeah, so I write about that in chapter 5 of my book, but essentially, progressive Christianity is a branch of people who, I need to be careful here, because they proclaim and profess to be Christian, but I make an argument that I don't believe that the branch is promoting Christian views, because essentially, the idea behind it is, because the culture has progressed on certain issues relative to moral issues, then the assumption is God has also progressed in His perspective on these issues.
For instance, same-sex marriages or a woman's right to abort her baby. So they will promote that, hey, God has kind of shifted His perspective. These are kind of old-school things, right? I would say that the culture has not progressed but regressed on moral issues, actually. Yes, exactly. I would say it's regressed, but they'll say that, you know, as culture has progressed, therefore Christianity needs to get on board and also progress with that. And so a couple of the tendencies that you might see when you go to a church website and you go and look at their statement of faith or they describe their church, you'll see we are a progressive church.
So just make sure anybody who listens, if you see that on the website. Or nomenclature like this, we're an inclusive, tolerant, welcoming community. Yes, yes. That's code speak for, we've thrown the Bible out the back door. Yes, exactly.
I mean, it really is. Or another one that you might see is the letters O-N-A, open and affirming, right? Yes, yes. And while I believe every church should be open to receive those who have an alternative lifestyle, that's not the problem. It's the other term, which is affirming, right? We're going to affirm you in your desire to change your gender, or we're going to affirm you in your desire to marry someone of the same sex. And we're even going to ordain you. We're going to let you serve in any capacity at our church because one of the tendencies or pillars of progressive Christianity, which is inclusivism, right, including people from all walks of life, even accepting other religions as being an acceptable way to get to God. Oh yeah.
You know what was amazing? I was on Fox News a couple of years ago with a Methodist pastor out of Tennessee who was a champion for Chrislam, and in their sanctuary had copies of the Koran right beside copies of the Bible and right beside copies of the hymnal. And so we were on there, and oddly enough, and I felt like I was very respectful and very collegial, but I said, you know, the Bible, a book shown to be inspired by compelling lines of evidence, I think about 1 John 2, 15-22, this says, to deny that Jesus is deity is the spirit of antichrist. You know, John 8, 24, Jesus said, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. Most of the really hate mail that I got for saying that Christians and Muslims don't worship the same God, most of the hate mail I got were from clergy who said, all of that, to throw this question, they said, Alex McFarland, who are you to judge anybody else's faith?
And the answer is, nobody. I'm not in a position to, but the Word of God most certainly is. The Word of God is absolutely in a position to pass analysis on everybody's beliefs. Don't you think we have to get back to the Bible? And we say, look, it's not my opinion, but it's God's revealed Word. Yeah, yeah, I always tell people, you know, look, I'm just the mailman. I'm just the person that is presenting the Word of God.
I'm bringing it to you. But I didn't write it, right? So there's a lot of things in the Bible that even me, I'm not necessarily happy about in terms of things that I would prefer to do. But the Bible says these are things that you shouldn't do. But, you know, we don't get to pick and choose what parts of the Bible that we like to apply to our lives or whatever is comfortable, whatever is convenient. And I think as we continue about progressive Christianity, I see that being one of the things. It's like, okay, we're gonna, we're gonna take these aspects of the Bible that we like, which is focusing on love and how Jesus loved all different groups and included different groups and spent time with the sinners and outcasts. Oh, but many parts of the Old Testament that talk about, you know, sexuality and things of that nature.
We're gonna kind of throw those things out. And no, the Bible says that all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable, right? So we need to make sure that we understand that. We don't have the right to declassify any sins, do we?
No. Hey, folks, stay tuned. We're gonna come back and talk further with Alan Parr, author of Misled, a great book I would encourage you to read and check out as we rise to the challenge of God's Word and be ready to give an answer. Stay tuned.
We're back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.
Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world.
My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at resources.afa.net. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.
Alex McFarland here. By the way, as I record this, we're just starting seven youth camps this summer. I ask for your prayers because about 1,250 teenagers will be coming through our apologetics worldview camps. And we do all the fun camp stuff like the ropes course, and yes, I do the ropes course, and all that other stuff I really do. But we drill down deeply, and always in our summer camps, probably about 25% of the kids make a salvation decision, or maybe they want to be sure that they really are born again and know the Lord Jesus.
So keep this in prayer. My own website is alexmcfarland.com. Our camps can be found at equipretreat.org. But folks, I just want to remind you that while the gospel is free, it takes resources to deliver this free message. So for events, publishing, broadcasting, I completely give God the glory, but we're in front of millions of people a year. My publicist told me of our articles, press releases, since October 1, we've had 412 million opens, a 38% open rate on all of our correspondence to college students, high schoolers.
I was talking to a publisher, and he said, when I send emails to my family, I don't get a 38% open rate. Now what am I saying, folks? I'm saying that God is allowing us to make a difference.
Would you please help us? You can give securely online tax-deductible gift online at alexmcfarland.com, or you can mail a check to TNG, TNG as in Truth for a New Generation, to PO Box 485, Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, 27313. May God bless you, and may God use what we're doing together to call the world to himself. Well somebody God is using mightily, I feel like I've made a brand new friend, Alan Parr, he's the author of Misled, Seven Lies That Distort the Gospel, published by Thomas Nelson. Kudos, my friend, on landing with, hey trust me, every Christian author wants to be on Nelson, for real. I mean, a lot of great publishers, Thomas Nelson is like the top of the mountain, brother.
It just is, I mean, for real. And so that's great, and I want people to know about what you're doing, then I want to get back into some very important theological interviews, but your ministry, your work, your website. Yeah, so the easiest way for people to kind of learn a little bit more about what we're doing is to go to our YouTube channel, which is The Beat by Alan Parr. The Beat is an acronym for Biblical Encouragement and Truth, a lot of people don't know that. Amen, that's good. Yeah, and so we have over 800 videos, many of them are apologetics, theological videos, relationship videos, interviews, current events, pop culture, overviews of the books of the Bible, basically anything Christianity you'll find on that particular YouTube channel. We just passed recently over a million subscribers, and so it was a huge milestone for our ministry, we're very excited about that, and our overall goal is to try to decrease Biblical illiteracy by providing courses, coaching, and curriculum for individuals and churches.
That's wonderful, and I thank God for you, brother, and it's a huge milestone, it really is. So let me ask you for a definition. What is worldview? Yeah, so worldview, without using the words to define it, it's essentially how people see society, how they see the world, through what lens are they viewing the world, right? So for instance, a Christian worldview would be that Christianity is the only way to get to God, and that we are born into sin, we don't have the capacity to be able to earn our way to heaven, we have to go through Christ. That's a worldview that we bring, so everything that we see going on in the world, we bring that to the world. Another worldview might be the worldview of Islam, right? So a Muslim might say, hey, the way we get to God is we have to pray five times a day, make a pilgrimage, do these different things, so they're bringing a different type of perspective to the world in terms of how they see the world, how they see God, how they see people.
What's the difference? I get this question a lot, but I'd love to hear you clarify. The difference between worldview and apologetics? Yeah, so a worldview would be more so my mentality as to how I view or see the world.
I may or may not share that with anyone ever in my entire life. I might say, you know what, this is how I view faith, this is how I view obedience, this is how I view morality, this is how I view God, this is how I view people, this is how I view heaven, hell, afterlife, and that, as a Christian, should be governed based on what the Word of God says. Apologetics, I see this, Alex, as being more of outward and external in terms of how do I relate to the people in this world, and how do I communicate my beliefs, or how do I communicate my worldview to those who might have a different worldview. And so apologetics might be more of a response to people who might have questions about my worldview.
Mm-hmm. Is there a most important topic in the Christian worldview? What would that be? The most important topic of all within the Christian worldview? I would say that the most important Christian worldview would be the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to get to God.
He even says in John 14, 6, for I am the way, not a way, but the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but through me. And the reason why that's most important is because if we don't believe that, we're not going to be motivated to share the Gospel with other people, because we're going to assume that, hey, you know what, even if I don't share the Gospel with them, they'll find another way to get to heaven. Maybe they'll find it through Islam, maybe they'll find it through Buddhism, they'll find it through a different way, so it's not pressing for me to share the Gospel with these people. But if I truly believe and I'm convinced in my heart that Jesus is the hope of the world and He is the answer for all truth and for people to really understand how they can have a true relationship with God, then that's going to motivate me to actually get busy and share my faith as well as defend my faith.
You know, I wish, Alan, that we had three hours to talk, and hopefully we'll get to converse again. By the way, if you're just tuning in, Alan Parr has authored the book Misled, Seven Lies That Distort the Gospel, and this is a great book, it really is, and I would urge you to check it out. For the person who may be out there, today could be the day they come to the Lord, or come back to the Lord. Jesus is as close by as a prayer, isn't He? And He really, really does love each and every person. He rose from the dead. I mean, that sets Him apart from any other person that ever lived. Alan, how could a person today, whether they are a Christian and they've got a lot on their shoulders, life is just, you know, kind of eating them up, or maybe they've never made that step of faith, how does someone turn to Christ?
Yeah, yeah. Well, if they're a Christian, they need to be convinced that God loves them, that God is not dealing with them from a place of anger and wrath and hatred, no matter what they've done. They need to know that God loves them, and God accepts them, and God wants them to turn. The Bible says, draw near unto me, and I will draw near unto you, in the book of James. And so, if you're a Christian, I would encourage you to just draw near. If you're a non-Christian, just know that the offer of salvation is available to you. And it's as simple as A-B-C, admit that you are a sinner, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He took your place on the cross, and then as the Bible says in Romans chapter 10, confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. And the Bible says you'll be saved.
And then I would encourage a non-Christian to find a good Bible-based church that they can get involved in so they can grow spiritually. Amen. You know, sincerely, I thank God for you, and I'm praying for you and the work that you're doing. I know you're touching millions, and I believe God is going to use you and your family to touch millions more.
And again, give your website. Yeah, alanparr.com is the easiest way for people to find out more about what we're doing. Folks, you've been listening to a conversation about the book Misled, a great book I recommend, but also the Gospel. And we are living in a time where we absolutely need to rise to the challenge of 1 Peter 3.15 and be ready always to give an answer.
You can do this, folks. You don't think you have to be some, you know, theologian with hallways full of books in your house. Maybe you already have your house.
Maybe you are. But listen, God will use you. And I want to remind you, as you represent Christ, Luke 10.12 says the Holy Spirit will give you the words that you need. Jesus promised that to his disciples. God wants to use you. And so understand that we have a calling, and I believe it's more urgent than ever, that we present, explain, and defend the Gospel. May God bless you as you do that. Alan, thanks for being a guest on our show.
It's a privilege. Thanks so much. 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 Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404. Or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD and the number 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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