September 2017 – The world loves to talk about progress and change, but without the foundation of the Word of God, positive change is impossible. The proof is in the history books – wherever the gospel goes and hearts are changed, cultures are reformed and society benefits.
Christians in America today find themselves in a unique position. American culture emerged, by design, as a marketplace of ideas, where anyone could believe and teach anything. Yet when the Word of God is brought to this marketplace, challenges of all sorts arise. Armed with the truth and a mandate to spread it to the ends of the world, Christians often find it difficult to make any headway in their own country.
Dr. Michael Brown (photo at right), president and professor of practical theology at Fellowship for International Revival and Evangelism School of Ministry, brings clarity and insight to the Christian-in-contemporary-culture issue. The FIRE ministry offers a leadership training institute that equips leaders to have greater impact for the gospel.
FIRE’s distinctive elements provide students with academic excellence in Bible study, mentoring relationships, and practical ministry experience.
Brown will be among speakers at Pursuing a Faith That Thinks, a Charlotte, North Carolina, conference on Christian apologetics in October. He will be joined by American Family Radio host Frank Turek (Cross Examined) and a number of other noted apologists including Norm Geisler, Ken Ham, and J. Warner Wallace.
American Family Studios, AFA’s video division, will premiere The God Who Speaks at the same conference. (See below.)
Brown’s observations go to the heart of every true believer’s experience in the current climate of the United States – confident in the gospel, yet at times unsure in an increasingly hostile environment. He spoke to AFA Journal about the challenges facing Christians who want to take the Word of God to their circles of influence for the glory of Christ.
AFA Journal: How can Christians in a culture that downplays religion as superstition, or worse, take the message of the Bible and reform the culture?
Michael Brown: God’s Word remains true whether people believe it or not. We must act with confidence and love, knowing that God’s ways are best, knowing that His truth liberates and transforms, sharing the gospel and praying for the lost and standing up for our beliefs like never before, always bathing everything in prayer.
AFAJ: What reaction should Christians expect and how should they deal with it?
MB: We should expect some to listen but others to react with outright hostility, as if we’re living out Psalm 2. We are the enemy, and the Bible is an evil book – that’s the attitude of many in our society. We should rejoice when this happens. We’re being rejected because of Jesus, and we should patiently work to overcome their misinformed beliefs about us.
We have to be honest with ourselves and come to grips with the hostility that does exist in certain circles. Things are not what they used to be, and where there used to be indifference or apathy, there is now outright, angry resistance.
AFAJ: How can Christians with few fellow Christians around them stay refreshed and motivated to change their circle of influence?
MB: We receive our primary encouragement from fellowship with the Lord. Jesus is alive! Jesus is Lord! I live in constant encouragement because of that, and the more time I spend with Him and focus on Him, the more encouraged I am. Then, we receive encouragement from the fruit that we see through the ministry work that we do. It’s important we encourage one another with testimonies about what He’s doing. And we receive encouragement from the extreme attacks that come against us. It’s a sign we’re doing the right thing.
AFAJ: Are there any encouraging signs of reform in American culture?
MB: I see both bad and good. On the bad side, we’re watching a steady moral and spiritual collapse in our country on many fronts. On the good side, more and more believers are waking up to reality. More and more are determined to see change come, and, for all the mixture there, the Trump election has reminded us that we can fight back and that anything can happen. Also, the devil always overplays his hand, and in a similar way LGBT activists will continue to go too far until the nation will awake.
AFAJ: Many times for weary Christians it is hard to keep their eyes on the goal. What is the Church’s goal for America?
MB: The goal is that we glorify Jesus with all of our hearts and souls, regardless of cost or consequences, whether by life or by death. We know God and we make Him known, standing for what is right and standing against what is wrong. If we do that, regardless of the results, the Lord will be pleased, and we can leave this world knowing we obeyed our Master.
New documentary to premiere at apologetics conference
AFA’s American Family Studios will debut The God Who Speaks, at Pursuing a Faith That Thinks, an October 13-14 apologetics conference at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 90-minute documentary examines the truth and inerrancy of the Bible and equips the Christian to boldly take up the sword of the Spirit and face down the dragons clawing at the foundation of moral society.
“For many years, AFA has made truth claims to the culture at large,” said Jeff Chamblee, AFS director. “Among other things, we’ve declared human life to be sacred and defended what does and does not constitute marriage. There was once a basic understanding of these truths. That’s no longer the case. Personal opinion carries almost as much weight as truth. We felt it was necessary to reiterate where morality originates – in the character of God as revealed through Scripture.”
“The God Who Speaks sets out to answer a number of questions about the Scriptures,” said producer Michael David Perkins, “but the primary one is what does it mean for the Bible to be the Word of God? That question obviously begs other questions about the characteristics of the Scriptures – e.g., questions about authorship, inspiration, authority, and trustworthiness.”
Noted evangelical leaders Alistair Begg, Josh McDowell, Erwin Lutzer, Alex McFarland, Norman Geisler, and Frank Turek are among 23 scholars who bring depth and insight to the 90-minute video.
“Part of AFA’s mission is to assist the church at home and abroad in fulfilling the Great Commission,” said Chamblee. “We believe that reasserting the glory of God as seen in the reliability of Scripture will make a stronger case for unbelievers and bolster the faith of Christians. Ultimately, this film points people beyond the reliability of the biblical text to the God of the Bible and the promises He’s made for all who will come to Him in faith and repentance.” For more information visit thegodwhospeaks.org.
At the Pursuing a Faith That Thinks conference, AFA will also sponsor a debate between apologist Richard Howe and atheist Dan Barker. Learn more and register for the conference at conference.ses.edu or call 800-77-TRUTH x201.
PURSUING A FAITH THAT THINKS
Southen Evangelical Seminary