The sold-out Dare 2 Dig Deeper conference helped teens answer the hard questions about the Christian faith over the weekend while also helping seekers discover Jesus Christ.
From Friday to Saturday, around 1,600 teens from 21 states and 2 foreign countries, filled every available seat at the Focus on the Family auditorium in Colorado Springs, Colo., and according to the events organizer, Alex McFarland, an additional 800 were turned away.
"[The first night], people opened their heart to Christ and became born again believers," McFarland said. "People want to know about apologetics and how true the Christian faith is."
According to several studies, two-thirds of the teens attending church will forsake their faith by their senior year of college. The loss of youth is frequently cited as one of the top five issues facing the church today.
Organizers of Dare 2 Dig Deeper have called it one of the nation's strongest apologetics conference and many in attendance agreed that it was "the finest conference they've ever been to."
Eight of the nation's leading apologists led general sessions and break-out sessions. They demonstrated the Bibles factual authenticity, provided evidence for Christs resurrection and life, propounded on the existence of absolute truth and the dangers of moral relativism, and explained the difference between creation and evolution.
The conference also addressed spiritual doubt, how to reach skeptics with the Gospel, how to respond to Islam, atheism and agnosticism, why The Da Vinci Code is flawed, and exposed wicca, witchcraft and the occult.
Each speaker had a different area of expertise, but according to McFarland, there were three big questions - Is God real? is the Bible trustworthy? And was Jesus authentic? As each question was answered, students were both equipped to defend faith and some even came to faith for the first time.
Describing the origin of the universe as scientific proof of God's existence, McFarland said, "Sure, it thrills my heart to reflect that Jesus died for me, but there is also tangible data that yes, God does exist."
"For example, the universe had to have had a beginning. Looking at the facts behind the origin of the universe, even secular scientists admit that it had to come from a cause. The data within DNA is just too complex and complete to have arisen by accident."
Author and evangelist Josh McDowell of Josh McDowell Ministries explained during an interview, "If you look at cosmology, which is the study of the origin of the universe, whatever begins to exist, has a cause. Scientists now believe, the universe must've had a cause. The implication of that cause must be very powerful, very intelligent, immaterial, and beyond time."
On Friday night, 50 people came to Christ after the talk by McDowell.
"It was so evangelistic, McFarland said. We heard so eloquently from all the speakers.
In addition to McFarland and McDowell, other speakers for the one-night, one-day conference included famed atheist-turned-Christian, Lee Strobel, whose topic was Faith Under Fire & Final Challenge; Chicagos Moody Church Pastor Erwin Lutzer, who spoke of The Da Vinci Deception; Gary Habermas, a world-renowned expert on Christ's resurrection who addressed the question, Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?; Frank Turek, who authored I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist; Summit Ministries founder David Noebel, who discussed the Biblical Basis of a Christian Worldview; and Focus on the Familys executive vice president, Del Tackett, who produced the upcoming worldview DVD series The Truth Project.
"As men and women in America watched J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and other pop phenomenon, people began the search for answers to the hard questions, such as how do you know God really exists? In their search, they found answers with the help of apologists, McFarland commented.
"All of a sudden, people both inside and outside the church began to say, 'Wow, Christians have reason to believe what they believe. They have logical evidence for their faith.
McFarland pointed out that for the postmodernist, faith is based on emotions, however, "feelings are subjective.
"If we say that Christianity is true because I just feel it in my heart, well a Mormon would say I feel a burning in my bosom, a Hindu would say I feel enlightened and at oneness with the universe. We need something substantive, something outside of ourselves."
Summit Ministries Founder David Noebel, said, "The secularist humanist knows his worldview, the postmodernist knows his worldview, but the Christian doesnt know his worldview."
Noebel said that God asks Christians for the heart and the mind, but Christians are not serious.
"They check their brains off when they enter the church, instead of being what the church was supposed to do, which is to teach. In fact, the church established all of the world's universities."
In continuing its effort to help young believers answer the hard questions about the Christian faith, Focus on the Family is planning to take the conference around the world, and many of the world's top apologists have already signed on.