Stuart McAllister wants to see cynics turn into hopefuls.
As someone who has lived and traveled in different places in the world, he has seen many in the American culture fill with despair. Sadly, he says this feeling goes beyond the general population–it is in the church as well.
“Many of the American Christians have become more full of anger and frustration in light of the changing culture. I want them to have a hope-filled vision of God and his Kingdom ,” said McAllister.
From March 22 to March 24, he will lead a seminar at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove. There, he hopes to help people tap into the current mood of American culture, explore the appropriate Christian response, and become equipped with the skills and confidence necessary for communicating the Gospel that can bring lasting hope in a cynical age.
McAllister believes that this culture of cynicism has been born out of suspicion. “We question everything after things like Vietnam and World Com. We are constantly seeing phoniness and everything sacred is questioned,” he explained. “Even within church circles, failings with Christian leader involving sex scandals, mishandling of money and integrity issues plant seeds of distrust. Now, it seems like the only people many people trust is themselves.”
Another reason McAllister wants to see the church live in a hopeful manner is that we are adding to the already negative, cynical culture. He doesn’t want to see this type of living perpetuated–he wants to see people healed.
“Sin isn’t only something we commit against God; it’s a sociological calamity. Jesus changes individuals from inside out. We’re powerless to save ourselves. We need to stop beating up sinners and start showing the love, patience and kindness,” he charges.
After the seminar at the Cove is over, he wants people to go back home with a renewed resolve to show the world the only power that truly can save as they begin taking time to reflect, listen rather than judge, and to be more compassionate in our views of people in our culture.
Our job is to have hope and give hope, and we can’t give what we don’t have. In Romans 15:15, we read that we should be hopeful in our souls,” he explains. “We need to get back to the foundation of the way we should live: faith, hope and love. To be hopeful isn’t to overlook our troubles. We should have hope because we believe in the resurrection and ultimate justice. Hope is also wanting to see people all over world celebrating King Jesus.
Stuart McAllister is vice president of training and special projects for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He is a renowned speaker, writer, and an associate fellow at Oxford University.