After a long two year break from the ReGeneration Forum, Truth/Lies: God’s Good Truth in a My Truth World came back with a bang on Saturday, November 5th, 2022. With over 800 tickets sold, 66 churches represented, 10 powerful speakers, hundreds of lives were emboldened to take hold of the truth of Christ in the midst of the shifting culture of confusion. At the very beginning of the planning process, it became clear to the ReGeneration Project Leadership Team that what this cultural moment desperately needed was a clear identification of mainstream lies juxtaposed with the truth of God’s Word.
“I can’t express how critical it is for those who follow Jesus and for those who don’t (yet) to be able to understand the difference between truth and lies in our world today,” began Dan Kimball, ReGeneration Project Director. “Since the truths of the Holy Spirit-inspired Scriptures are becoming less and less known, new false truths are being created about who Jesus is and how he relates to his people. There is a massive influx of TikTok theology and people who are shaping their own picture of who God is,” Kimball urged. “And if you didn’t know the original, you would assume what you are hearing is the truth.”
As followers of Jesus and the historical Christian faith, we want to have confidence that we are following the right Jesus and believing in the right truth. The incredible news amidst all the confusion is that there are answers, and there is a way to know the truth. There are logical reasons to believe what historical Christianity teaches. It is also so exciting to know that many who are part of younger generations are eager to learn the truth and know the true Jesus. This mission shaped each main session and lab session of ReGen 2022.
No one understands the need to confront pervasive cultural lies with truth better than Alisa Childers - speaker, apologist, and author of Live Your Truth and Other Lies: Exposing Popular Deceptions That Make Us Anxious, Exhausted, and Self-Obsessed and many others. “There was a time in my life when I experienced waves of doubt that shook my once solid faith in Jesus. It felt like I had plunged into this stormy ocean and these waves of doubt crashing over my head and I was just dog-paddling to survive,” Childers explained. “What I needed was to clearly name the lies I had bought into over the years.” As Childers kicked off our first main session of the day, attendees were confronted with the painful lies that have snuck in through the backdoor of our hearts. Childers sought to bring each one to light, naming each lie, liar, and how each particular lie became so attractive to so many.
The day continued with several lab session topics such as “Sex & Truth” with Josh Ryan Butler, author of his forthcoming book Beautiful Union: How God's Vision for Sex Points Us to the Good, Unlocks the True, and (Sort of) Explains Everything, “Jesus & the Culture Wars” with Chris Nye, “Satan, Demons, & Deception” with Dr. Gerry Breshears of Western Seminary, and “Another Gospel?” lead by Alisa Childers. The ReGen Leadership Team quickly realized our need for a larger event space as attendees packed themselves into classrooms designed to hold half the number. Students, parents, and church leaders alike squeezed into hear Breshears and others, even if it was through the windows and doors from the outside. The day continued with a hearty Chick-Fil-A meal and lunch lab session options such as “Ask A Theologian Anything,” with Dr. Gerry Breshears, “Lyrics, Songwriting, and Truth,” with Citizens band leader, Zach Bolen, and a “Bay Area Church Leaders Forum” lead by Dan Kimball. Attendees gathered around the courtyard of our host church, Christ Community Church of Milpitas, laughing and sharing what God had put on their hearts in the morning’s sessions.
Main session two, led by Jay Kim, Lead Pastor of Westgate Church Saratoga, and Isaac Serrano, Lead Pastor of South Valley Community Church Gilroy, began with explaining why our fickle human hearts are prone to believing the corrupted messages the world has to offer. Kim explained that a large majority of Generation Z would describe themselves as “lonely all of the time.” It seems, then, that it is more attractive to buy into a cultural lie for the sake of belonging and acceptance, forgoing the truth for the comfort of community. “As Christians, we are promised that we will face rejection, hate, persecution, and loneliness at times. It comes with the deal,” Kim explained. In a culture of comfort-seekers and abundant groups of which we can find belonging, how can we possibly hope to be faithful in our lonely pursuit of Jesus? “The Church will go on,” Serrano encouraged. “It always has. We have a hope that has survived hundreds of generations. The truth has not been squelched, but rather, advanced. Our hope is not in vain.” As spirits were bolstered throughout the sanctuary, attendees scurried off to their next lab session option, and finally, main session three.
John Mark Comer, speaker, author of Live No Lies: Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace, and a dear friend of The ReGeneration Project, reminded us where these cultural lies originated from. Comer took us to Matthew 4:1-11, the famous story of Jesus’ testing in the wilderness. He highlighted Jesus’ tactic of combating the Devil’s every attractive lie with the truth of Scripture. “The Devil is real, his end goal is death, and his primary language is that of lies,” Comer exhorted. “The only way to combat [the Devil’s] attempts is to take on the mind of Christ. Discipleship is essentially this. It is the serious attempt to curate our consciousness in such a way that over a long period of time, we take on the mind of Christ,” Comer explained. Comer’s main admonishment was the gift of Scripture and our role in truly taking hold of it. And as 16-year old Kaiya Spangler read in Romans 12:1-2 at the beginning of the event reminded us, when we do this, we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
There are no other words to describe this event other than a huge success. As a Leadership Team, we firmly believe that the mission of this conference was met. It served as a reminder for those who believe to renew our minds daily in God’s good truth in the “my truth” culture of today. For those who do not yet know Jesus, it provided a window into the truth of Jesus among the pervasive counterfeits. For those in church leadership, we have witnessed the shock waves this message created throughout the Bay Area and beyond. As we continue to plan more forums and events, our mission remains the same: that the generations rising up before our very eyes would know the Lord and what he has done for his people (Judges 2:10).
A huge to our friends and volunteers who joined Western Seminary in making the Bay Area ReGeneration Forum possible! We especially appreciate Sue McKinley and the Christ Community Church staff for their gracious hosting, South Valley Community Church worship band for providing music worship with Zach Bolen, and Kaylee Deal for event coordination. Also, a personal thanks from the ReGeneration team to Chuck Conniry, president ofWestern Seminary, and the Western Seminary leadership team. Thank you for believing in equipping Bay Area leaders to address the tough issues of today. And thank you to our supporting churches and leaders for dedicating your life to reaching and discipling new generations.