October 6 2014 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

    Alex McFarland held a series of youth rallies in Greensboro in 1991 and labeled them “Truth for a New Generation.” Twenty-three years later he looks back on the conferences he conducted across the nation and is confident about the vision God gave him.
     
    In early September conference attendees packed the main worship center and overflow facilities of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C., for the 39th Truth for a New Generation Conference. Headliners included Eric Metaxas, Joni Eareckson Tada, David Nasser, Josh McDowell, David Barton, Todd Starnes, and probable presidential candidate, Ben Carson.
     
    Why does he do it? “First, I want to obey what I believe God has called me to do,” McFarland said. “Second, we hope to see souls saved. People bring their unsaved friends to these conferences. In last night’s opening session we saw two dozen people accept Christ.”
     
    But he is praying for something greater that will sweep the nation. “What we are aiming for is a revival in America. We want to see a revival – obviously of the gospel, obviously of belief in the authority of scripture. We want to see the church believe the Bible as the Word of God, read it and live it.”
     
    McFarland was a youth pastor at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro. “Pat Cronin was my pastor,” he said. “At that time some very godly pastors invited me to speak – men like Michael Barrett at Pleasant Garden Baptist and Lawrence Clapp at South Elm Street Baptist, where I am a member now. Churches began to invite me to come talk to their youth.”

    McFarland10-06-14.jpg

    Truthforanewgeneration.com photo
    Alex McFarland leads the latest Truth for a New Generation rally in Spartanburg, S.C.

     

    He said the big game changer came about 13 years ago when he rented the Greensboro Coliseum and saw 5,000 people gather. “Then we went to Yale University in New Haven, Conn., 11 years ago. We had 2,200 people attending and 207 accepted Christ.”
     
    Another thrust came when Focus on the Family invited him to be their director of apologetics.
    That opened the door for large events in Indiana, Texas, Colorado and California.
     
    Conference attendees from 23 states number “... anywhere from 1,200 to 5,000 people, but we generally average 2,500 to 2,800,” he said.
     
    McFarland began the conferences because he believes the church needs to be equipped to defend the faith. He remembers that in 1991 atheism was rare, and Islam was only mentioned in a world religion class.
     
    “I was telling people in the mid-nineties, ‘Watch out. Islam is coming.’ I was hearing about it on the university campuses,” he said. “Here we are in the 21st century and apologetics is front page news.
     
    “I believe you spell evangelism ‘apologetics’ these days. I’ll say this with all my heart, I’m not ‘doom and gloom,’ I’m happy in Jesus. But without a spiritual awakening that includes an emphasis on the authority of scripture, without a revival, we will lose our U.S. constitution,” said McFarland.
     
    He believes America is in “very grave danger” of the constitution being changed. “People like Hillary Clinton are calling for a constitutional convention,” he said. “If 2014 had been 1776 we would not have an America. Part of the reason we have an America is because [the founding fathers] believed in a universal, moral code. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called it a Judeo-Christian worldview in his 1963 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Why We Can’t Wait.
     
    “We don’t have leaders [today] who believe in natural law or objective morality anymore. Jefferson called it ‘self-evident truth.’ If we have a constitutional convention today, apart from a Christian underpinning, we will lose our constitution. We need a revival and apologetics is a part of that.”
     
    America is much like Israel in Judges 5:8, according to McFarland. “That verse says, ‘When they chose new gods, there was chaos within the gates.’ We in America have chosen new gods, and there is chaos. Jeremiah 19:4 says, “They have forsaken Me and made this place a place of foreign gods.’ That’s America.”
     
    In 1789 George Washington said, “If I had ever entertained the slightest apprehension that the constitution which was framed at the convention over which I had the honor of presiding, would hinder the rights of any church or religious body, I certainly would have never signed it.”
     
    “Our founders were pro-liberty, but that could only exist within the context of a culture that was pro-Christianity,” McFarland stressed. “We must recover that. That’s why we have Truth for a New Generation conferences.”
     
    Another foundational principle of the conferences is to see a reaffirmation of the local church. “I am the most pro-local church guy you’re ever going to meet,” he said. “The church is God’s answer. I believe the church is a group of born-again believers banded together for the purpose of world evangelization.
     
    “There’s a generation of millennials and plurals that are not too big on church. We want to see people thirty and under [get] bonded to the local church. This is a big theme in our ministry. We want to see people come to Jesus, but part of being a disciple is being part of a local church. So, I believe revival is the key to our country’s future, but one of the keys to revival is the church.”
     
    Author and Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes was a keynote speaker at the Spartanburg conference. He said events like this are important because it shows Christians they are not alone.
     
    “A lot of people think there is something wrong with the country, maybe there’s something not right with the culture and maybe it’s just me,” Starnes said. “But when you come to a conference like this and you look around and see 1,500 people in the room, you realize, ‘I’m not alone.’”
     
    That was the theme of Starnes’ recently released book, God Less America. He believes if Christians stand together with one voice across denominational lines, their voices will be heard.
     
    Another value of the conference is the educational content. “Many churches are just not talking about these issues,” he said. “They don’t want to; they’re afraid of losing their tax exempt status; the pastors don’t want the controversy. But these are issues that matter to the Kingdom. They matter to Christians and to anyone who cherishes religious liberty. These people come to get themselves educated on the issues.”
     
    Starnes believes revival will break out in America, first within the younger generation. “There are many stories of young Christians who are taking a stand for their faith,” he added. “We are seeing a groundswell of support for the pro-life movement among teenagers and college students. That generation has seen the devastation that abortion has caused. I do believe we could see the next Billy Graham, Billy Sunday or W.A. Criswell rise up out of this generation of young believers, and possibly lead the nation back to the Lord.”
     
    Visit truthforanewgeneration.com.

    10/6/2014 2:26:35 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Alex McFarland, Greensboro, N.C., youth ministry




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