Roger Marsh: Welcome to Family Talk, the broadcast division of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh, hoping you and your family had a fun-filled Independence Day yesterday. Perhaps you watched some fireworks across the night sky in your town. By the way, did you know that the tradition of fireworks on the 4th of July actually came from a celebration in Philadelphia in 1777? That's right. A ship fired a 13 gun salute to honor the 13 colonies and the Sons of Liberty set off fireworks over Boston Common as well.
Although many cities celebrated Independence Day at the time, it was Massachusetts that became the first state to actually designate the 4th of July as a holiday. That happened in 1781. Then in 1870, the United States Congress made the 4th of July a federal holiday. You know who loves fireworks the most? Kids. My grandkids could not have been more excited last night watching all the fireworks here locally.
Well, isn't it great to see your kids and grandkids light up in wonderment as they see the explosions in the sky? Children are such an amazing gift from God, but we as parents must remain vigilant to protect them from the ongoing battle for their hearts and minds from evil forces within the culture. This fight is going on even in their schools as well, perhaps even especially in their schools.
Well, today here on Family Talk, Dr. Alex McFarland will be joining our co-host, Dr. Tim Clinton, to discuss how the woke agenda is being pushed on our children. Alex McFarland is a Christian apologist, author, evangelist, and international speaker. He's the co-host of "Exploring the Word", a national daily program on the American Family Radio Network. He's also host of "The Alex McFarland Show," which airs on NRBTV.
Dr. Alex McFarland is the author of over 150 articles and nearly 20 books, and his writings have appeared in many national publications as well. From 2001 to 2005, Dr. McFarland served as president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and college in Charlotte, North Carolina. Going all the way back to the early 1990s, Alex McFarland created the Truth for a New Generation Conference, which has helped countless teens and adults learn more about their faith and how to defend it. Alex and his wife, Angie, make their home near Greensboro, North Carolina.
Now, today's conversation was recorded recently at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando. So let's join Dr. Alex McFarland and Dr. Tim Clinton right now, right here on Family Talk.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Alex, what a delight to have you back on the broadcast. I know you've been on with Dr. Dobson. You have quite a relationship with Doc through the years, but welcome and such a delight to have you.
Alex McFarland: Well, thanks, Tim. It's always great to be with you.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. Let's talk a little bit about Dr. Dobson. You and I have some history, too. You go back to Liberty University, got graduate degrees from there. But I don't know if you remember, Dr. Dobson was a commencement speaker at Liberty and I think you graduated.
Alex McFarland: I well remember that. Yes. And that was a milestone in my life.
Dr. Tim Clinton: He talked about how life would trash your trophies. I think he was talking about his tennis trophies that he'd won, and somehow they wound up in a dumpster or something like that. And he was so proud of all that, but it was a reminder about what really matters in life.
Alex McFarland: Absolutely.
Dr. Tim Clinton: In the end, I remember him saying this, "All that really matters is who you loved and who loved you."
Alex McFarland: Amen. And Dr. Dobson, as he always does, he calls people to the right priorities, the Lord, your spouse, your family. And I think that's just such an important message for us to hear again these days, isn't it, Tim, that the world dangles so many things in front of us? Look, if we don't have the Lord Jesus, if we're not being true to our spouse, if we're not giving our life for our family, all this other stuff is just superficial.
Dr. Tim Clinton: It is. Alex, so much for us to talk about. But I'd like to begin with just a little bit in your background. God has called you to be an apologist, so a defender of the faith, if you will. Alex, explain that calling and what that's all about. And then I know you care a lot about today's generations.
Alex McFarland: Oh, well, I really do. And Tim, let me just say what an honor it is to be with you and the Family Talk broadcast. And just for so many years, I could expend our time just telling how much I admire you, Tim, and all that you have done and are doing.
But I became a Christian when I was in college. I was going to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, UNCG, and had a lot of friends that were skeptics. And Tim, this was in the late '80s, this is a long time ago. And yet, my college buddies were atheists or said they were, and there were so many things. And I went to a Christian bookstore, I'd been a believer three days, like 72 hours. And I go to a Christian bookstore and I just, in the providence of God, I bought two books by Josh McDowell, a mutual friend, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, More Than a Carpenter.
And I got home that night and I had to go to school, go to work. So it was probably about 8:00 at night before I could sit down and really open these books. I knew nothing about anything. Right? I was a brand new baby Christian, 21 years old, and I began to read about the evidence that God is real, that the Bible is true, that Jesus is authentic, and he rose from the dead.
And seriously, at about 5:00 AM in the morning, I finally put the books down, had to get an hour or two of sleep, and the trajectory of my life was changed, that I knew I had to present, explain, and defend the gospel. And this was way outside of my comfort zone. I'm an introvert to the core, and yet people need the Lord. And I was learning the Bible. And after about four or five years of being a Christian, I thought, "This is all I want to do with my life, is help people, especially young people, find, number one, find the Lord Jesus, but then find themselves."
And Tim, I think that's where the world is. I really think the world today, especially young adults and teens are in kind of an identity crisis. And the first step toward actually understanding your context, your place in this world and who you are, the key to all of that is the Lord.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Alex, in a lot of ways our kids are in trouble. There was a recent CDC report that came out about our girls. In 2021, the CDC researched and found that 57%, three out of five girls, our girls, our daughters here in America were struggling with serious issues around hopelessness, despair, depression, and more. They even found that 30% of our daughters, our girls in 2021 seriously contemplated taking their life, committing suicide.
Alex McFarland: It's tragic.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Now, that ought to stop everybody in their tracks. There's something wrong. I know it's been a tough go the last couple of years, but especially difficult for our younger generations. And part of that comes back to the confusion in culture. Truth doesn't die, but we're getting confused about what truth is. Alex, help us understand, what is wokeism? What is that whole battle that they're in? I guess it's around feelings. Right?
Alex McFarland: Well, yeah, and it's around the idea not only that I make my own truth, but that I make my own reality. Look at transgenderism. We know that genetically males and females are different, but we're living in a time where people are insistent, and because it's really drilled into them by secular education, secular culture, that people believe that they can make their own reality. And especially, my heart goes out to young people because they begin to realize at a young age there's this disconnect between everything the world is telling me, everything the world is promising me.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, it's all coming to them on this thing right here, this phone, this digital device. 24/7, 365, kids are on this thing constantly.
Alex McFarland: Yes.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Mom and dad, you can't ignore this.
Alex McFarland: There was a study that came out about a month ago, not quite a month ago, that says kids experience emotional and even physical pain when they're without their mobile device for more than six or seven minutes.
Dr. Tim Clinton: I believe-
Alex McFarland: Six or seven minutes.
Dr. Tim Clinton: I'm not sure, I don't feel some of that. I don't know. But it's become such an addiction, if you will.
Alex McFarland: Exactly, exactly. And you were talking about young ladies, and that is tragic that they contemplate suicide, but there is also, and this could be a whole week of shows, a crisis of masculinity and boys making the transition from boyhood to being a young man. If there is a verse that is the verse of our times, Tim, I really think it would be John 10:10. It says, "The thief," that's Satan, and Satan is real, but, "The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy." And how sad it would be if the story ended there. It says, "But Jesus, Jesus came to give life and life abundantly."
And I want to tell you, this is a message kids open up to. They really do. Whether they be teenagers or grad students, it's been our privilege to be in front of thousands of audiences. And Tim, I'm telling you, when the gospel of Jesus is presented and we explain how this really relates to me as a person, that the Lord does love me, the Lord will forgive my sins, but the Lord has a plan for each and every life.
Tim, I think this generation needs to know that they're not an accident, the good Lord willed that they would be here. Your life, my life and the life of every young person was an intentional act of God. And we matter. And there is an answer for the questions we have, but even more than the intellectual answers, there is the presence of God, every step of the journey. God loves me, God has things for me, whether or not I think I'm handsome or pretty, or body image, or money, or economics. All of those things that the world lies to us and says, "Define worth." God says, "No, you have worth and value and dignity and you matter because I made you. You're my child and I'll never leave you."
Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, Alex, I love that. And I believe that therein lies our hope and our strength. I hope moms and dads will turn this up here just for a moment. You got to hear, we're in a battle for the soul of our kids. We really are. And we can't turn a blind eye to this. Mom, dad, hear me. You may think you have the perfect family, your kids are getting pounded in every direction. And if you're not attuned to that challenge and figuring out how to step into it, by the way, keeping your eyes wide open and being honest, it's concerning. It's more than that. It's threatening. It's threatening to your kids.
Alex, I want to talk to you about the battle for the hearts and minds of our kids, because I don't think people see this. When you go into the educational system, there's a real effort to indoctrinate our kids versus educate them. I think there are a lot of good teachers out there. I don't want to undermine that. I don't want to send the wrong message here. A lot of great teachers in public school systems and more. I know some of them, and they're out there on the front lines getting the job done as best they can.
Alex McFarland: Same here.
Dr. Tim Clinton: But when you start hearing stuff like, "Teachers know best," these are our children, not your children as mom and dad, they're our children, Alex, that should scare every one of us to death.
Alex McFarland: Oh, yeah. Well, this is part of the philosophy of stateism, globalism, that not only do we not really have the right to own private property, but even our offspring belonged to the state. And Tim, there was a philosopher many years ago named Martin Buber and Martin Buber said, "That in every life there is a God. There is a God." And one of the classes that I have taught at Liberty and other universities is the philosophical foundations of the U.S. Constitution. Unequivocally, our founding was on the Judeo-Christian worldview. We've drifted from that, but it doesn't mean that there's no such thing as God. In the absence of the true God, the state has become God.
And Tim, I'm with you, I know a lot of Godly people that are valiantly serving in the public school classroom. I applaud them. But I will say this, to a large degree, the K-12 public schooling, as run by many of the teachers' unions has become vehemently, not only anti-Christian, but even anti-truth, anti-reality.
And so Tim, I can say this, having spoken, I give God the glory, but I've been at more than 200 American universities, Harvard, Yale, Chapel Hill, Duke, I've been around the block to speak or debate. I can assure you that it is the delight of many a college professor to dismantle, not only the faith of a young person, but just even belief in morals. So this relativism that there is no truth, "I make my truth," this nihilism that, "I am my own God and it is all about me," and the idea that America is bad and we've got to create this global utopia.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Oh man, that's just unbelievable.
Alex McFarland: This is wokeism. And-
Dr. Tim Clinton: And it's destroying our kids.
Alex McFarland: It really is.
Dr. Tim Clinton: It really is. It's destroying the country. And was it Hitler who said, "Hey, he who wins the battle for the minds of the kids, they win the war."
Alex McFarland: That's right. Do you know 75, 80 years ago, there was a communist named Antonio Gramsci and somebody once said to him, said, "We'll never take America for Marxism because it's so overwhelmingly steeped in the church and the family." See, those were the two great foundation stones, the home and the church. Gramsci challenged his fellow Marxist and said, "We must," quote, "Make the long march through the institutions."
Now, you got to give them credit, they did it. Now, what Christians, number one is to love the Lord, then serve our family, then serve the church. I challenge young people, and Tim, you should see the fire and the excitement in their eyes when I say, "Look, you might not be a pastor or missionary, that's fine. But as a Christian, be a great businessman and take your biblical worldview to the public square, be in medicine or the sciences, be in education." We the people of God who actually, besides having commitment, we also have truth. We're going to make the long march through the institutions.
Dr. Tim Clinton: To think that, "Teachers or whoever," have the right to control your children on what they're going to believe and more, and to take parents out of that equation is insanity. You're not going to coach my kid like that, I can promise you that. That's the mindset.
And then when you see this push in culture, thank God for mama bears who are awakening. You saw that happen in Loudoun County and more, "No, we're not doing that. We're not going to do that. Not here, not in our house." And Alex, are you seeing a hopeful trend? Are you seeing some push back where people are getting it?
Alex McFarland: Well, yeah. Chuck Colson, the late Chuck Colson was a friend of Dr. Dobson, myself, and I know you knew him. Chuck Colson would often say that, "All politics is local politics." And I want to encourage people to be involved in school boards and city councils and be a citizen. This is what St. Augustine 1600 years ago would call citizenship. That until we are in the city of God, we have an obligation to the city of man.
Now, speaking of hope, I was in western North Carolina and I wrote this article for the Billy Graham magazine about a year ago. A group of moms were shocked when their middle schoolers came home with condoms and some very explicit material that was handed out in the public school, little mountain town of North Carolina. So they went to the school board and they said they felt like the school board was very condescending, "Oh, you little," you know.
Dr. Tim Clinton: "You're ignorant. You people need to get a little culture in you."
Alex McFarland: Yeah. So they realized, this mom told me, that all of the school board members, they knew where they went to church. So they got on the docket of the next school board meeting, brought all of the pastors and they said, "We're back. We don't want this Planned Parenthood curriculum," that not only was they were handing out condoms to middle schoolers, but they were talking about unspeakably deviant issues that we won't even go into.
And once again, the school board said, "Okay, yeah, thanks." And they said, "Well, wait, before you leave." And they brought in all the pastors. And this mom told me, she said, "If looks could kill." But all the pastors of all the school board members, and this one lady very respectfully said, "As you again reaffirmed this immoral curriculum, and you're not letting we parents have a say in any of this, we just wanted you all to do this in view of your pastors. And once again, we plea, would you take this sexual immorality out from the faces of our middle schoolers?"
They went into a vote, they came back and they said, "Okay, the Planned Parenthood curriculum is stricken." And she said, "But that's not the end of the story." She said, "We all decided to run for school board." And by the way, I was just at First Baptist of Yorktown, Texas. Same thing, battling. And when I say battle, we've got to be respectful, we've got to be prayerful, but we have to be diligent. And again, one by one Christians, people of morality and good faith, people who care about young people have one by one won seats on the school board, and they're bringing some sanity back to the curriculum that our children are being taught.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, God, be with us. You're listening to Family Talk, a division of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Dr. Tim Clinton, co-host here with Dr. Dobson. Our special guest today, Alex McFarland, renowned apologist, author, evangelist, advocate for biblical truth. He's the founder of Truth for a New Generation, apologetics conferences held across the country, co-host "Exploring the Word" that airs daily on American Family Radio. He's a dear friend of Dr. Dobson's and the ministry. And Alex and I have had a long time friendship together.
It's been a delight, Alex, just to have just a cup of coffee, conversation, about what's going on. And we've got to step up and into this moment. Alex, I wanted to go back and talk a little bit more about Christian parents and parenting for a second. I think in a lot of ways, Christian parents are getting it right. I think a lot of parents, they love their kids.
Alex McFarland: Amen.
Dr. Tim Clinton: They want to have boundaries, limits for them and more, but they're up against a lot. Heard Josh McDowell not long ago talked about how pornography had become probably the greatest challenge in the Christian family, in the home. And you start thinking about that along with the pressures that kids grow up with, the pressure to perform, academics, athletics, and so much more. And then kids are tough on each other. But Alex, you're on the front line. You see kids every day, you talking with them. What has your attention? What keeps you up at night when you think about the battle they're in?
Alex McFarland: Oh, great question, Tim. Well, you know what I think about, and we could talk about how there are so many challenges, and there are, but I'm just encouraged by the fact, first of all, Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, "I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." So, folks, be encouraged, truth wins because Jesus wins. And Jesus is Lord, we still have prayer. We still have the work of the Holy Spirit. So, folks, do not be resigned and discouraged. The people of God-
Dr. Tim Clinton: "Greater is he that is in you than he that's in the world."
Alex McFarland: Amen. Amen. And so what a strategic time to be alive. Daniel 11:32. One more verse. It says, "The people who know their God will be strong and do exploits." We know the Lord. We know that we're put here for such a time as this, but here's what I think about, Tim. I'm so encouraged when I hear young people that they're responding to truth. They love to hear about the Lord and God's plan for their life. But if I had a prayer, Tim, I would pray for a great move of God among the men.
One of the things that's going right with our country and anywhere this is applied, it works, is when men commit to love the Lord by loving their spouse and loving their children. I often say this, I'll say, "Look, dads, the greatest thing you'll ever do for your kids is to be true to their mother." And so I just want to throw out this challenge to individuals and churches, maximize on imparting the fire, the truth, love for the Lord, commitment to Christ. We need a generation of Godly men and boys that become godly young men. Where my heart is, is to pray for a move of God among America's males of all ages.
Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, I know this, Alex, that I do believe God's working, but I think we're up against it. These are unprecedented times, and so we hold onto the truth that greater is he that is in us than he that's in the world, and that's where our hope is. I know that there are many of you listening, maybe you're in a battle with your own children. You feel like you maybe losing them or there's a disconnect, or you feel like they're getting extraordinary pressure from the outside, which may be confusing them about their walk with Christ and more.
Alex, I can't wait for tomorrow because we're going to talk about seeing them and then speaking into their lives in such a way that maybe God endears them to a whole nother place, maybe a calling on their own life. You're doing these events, Truth for a New Generation and more, I want talk about that and what does that mean, getting truth into this generation.
Hey, on behalf of Dr. Dobson, his wife, Shirley, what a delightful conversation. The entire team here at Family Talk. Alex, we pray that God will continue to strengthen you, your voice for such a time as this. Thank you for joining us.
Alex McFarland: God bless you, my friend.
Roger Marsh: Truth wins. Indeed. That was Dr. Alex McFarland and our co-host, Dr. Tim Clinton, today here on Family Talk. Alex McFarland is so articulate and affable. You can really hear and understand why so many teens connect with him as they embrace the rather difficult discussion on apologetics. Be sure to tune in for part two of this powerful and thought-provoking discussion on our next edition of Family Talk that's coming up on tomorrow's program.
As Alex McFarland was saying earlier in our broadcast today, we do need a strong generation of Godly men to lead families and change communities for the better. Can you imagine what the world would look like? Men, I know oftentimes you receive more pressure than praise, and so much is being asked of you these days from an increasing workload, to making every possible effort to raise Godly families. Definitely isn't easy. But finding time for rest and recuperation isn't always in the cards either.
Well, we want you to know that here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, we are here for you with an abundance of resources, prayer, and encouragement. That's why I urge you to sign up for our 10-day Straight Talk To Men email series. It'll help you sharpen the tools God has already given you to live your life for Him, and may put the spring back in your spiritual step as well. To sign up. Remember, it's free. Simply visit drjamesdobson.org/straighttalk. That's, drjamesdobson.org/straighttalk.
I'm Roger Marsh, thanks so much for joining us today, and may God continue to richly bless you and your family as you grow stronger in your relationship with Him. You've been listening to Family Talk, the voice you trust for the family you love.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.