• Arkansas Baptist News

Lead>Defend speaker Denison to address ‘cultural shift’

LITTLE ROCK – A massive cultural shift has occurred in the last 10 to 15 years – dramatically impacting the way people view truth, gender and sexuality and religion, according to Jim Denison, CEO of Denison Forums, and the featured speaker at the Feb. 29 at Lead>Defend conference sponsored by the college and young leaders team of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC).


The one-day conference will be held at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.


Lead>Defend is an annual event for high school and college students, young professionals and leaders who work with these groups.


“The one-day event exists to encourage the next generation to follow Christ in the transitions young adulthood brings, to defend their faith in this post-Christian culture and to be Christian leaders on their respective campuses and beyond,” according to organizers.


Denison, a prolific author who also maintains a Christ-centered, global web and social media presence reaching 1.2 million people, will speak on “Culture Shock: Why we are where we are.”


Culture has changed on three levels, said Denison. First, truth is individual and subjective. Secondly , gender and sexuality is a personal choice. Finally, if anyone disagrees with the first two premises, their religion is “not just irrelevant, not just outdated, but dangerous,” he said.


Given these changes, some Christians seek to engage the culture, while others want to take the middle ground and are afraid to take a stand, said Denison said. Others, he said, seek to pull back and create a subculture within the culture.


Students are called to be salt and light, he said, as a generation that understands their influence and submits that influence to the Spirit of God. Because of the quick and direct cultural shift against biblical values, Christians must not “stay in the salt shaker,” according to Denison.


College students might wrongly believe they can only make a difference for God after they graduate. “They can be cultural missionaries right now in the present context with people they already influence,” he said.


Denison will also lead a Q-and-A session titled, “Discerning Today’s News Differently,” which is a subject he knows a lot about.


Denison writes a daily, free email called The Daily Article which reaches 180,000 subscribers. On Jan. 2, headlines read: Maligning Biblical Faith in American Culture, ISIS Beheads Nigerian Christians, and The Countercultural Way to be ‘Blessed.’


Also, Denison maintains a strong social media following through podcasts, YouTube Biblical Insight to Tough Questions videos and a Facebook page. The website denisonforum.org says their goal is to “thoughtfully engage the issues of the day from a biblical perspective.”


Denison, who said he’s excited about the opportunity to invest in this next generation, wants students and leaders attending the Lead>Defend conference to read the news through the lens of Scripture.


“College students always ask good questions,” he said. “My life changed through the college ministry when I was a student.”


Other Lead>Defend speakers Feb. 29 include Mary Jo Sharp, founder and director of Confident Apologetics Ministry, and Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist and evangelist.


Lisa Faulkner is a writer for the college and young leaders team of the ABSC.

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