A Christian Response to the Memorial Debate

The Charlottesville, Virginia, area is still working to heal after a racially charged and violent protest where one woman was killed more than a week ago. That eruption caused other cities to consider removing statues, monuments and other pieces of history that may cause conflict.

The American Pastors Network has been paying close attention to these unsettling events around the nation, and praying about how APN state chapters can provide a positive presence.

APN President Sam Rohrer says that leaders for the newly organized Virginia Pastors Network (VAPN, www.vapastors.nethave worked to serve as intermediaries during this tumultuous time. Likewise, leaders for the North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN, www.ncpastors.net) have also been impacted, after Duke University recently removed a vandalized statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee from the front of Duke’s chapel in Durham, N.C.

“Pastors and churches simply must serve as peaceful and grounded voices of reason in these turbulent times,” Rohrer said. “Both Christians and those who may be far from God will look to the church for its response about ways we can come together to begin the healing process in our fractured communities. It is a critical time for churches to come together and for pastors to stand for truth.”

Rohrer added that every memorial holds a powerful teaching moment for children and young Americans. When they ask, “what is this?” and “why is this here?” it is an opportunity to recognize how the sinfulness of mankind always produces a tension between human beings.

“It is the ideal time to teach how—through Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind—all people, regardless of color, nationality or station in life, can realize their intrinsic value before God,” Rohrer said. “Isn’t this the ideal time to demonstrate that no one race, color or people group have any singular claim to truth? Isn’t this the very time to teach that unity is achieved at the foot of the cross when we agree with God about Jesus Christ and that He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

“So what should we be asking?” he continued. “Why do we have memorials? Why must we oppose their removal? Mustn’t we take a deep breath—everyone—and ask for God’s guidance at this time? What does God say about memorials? What must we as Christian citizens do if this mindless dash to destruction is to be stopped? As we look back, what perhaps have we as Christians done to prepare our culture for such a dangerous time? Memorials, when erected by the support of the people or culture at any given point in time and out of respect for those people in that time, should remain. To attack a legitimately erected memorial is to attack our fathers and grandfathers and to say that we know better today than anyone before us thought was worthy.”

Facing conflict in its state, leaders for the Virginia Pastors Network are aware of the great duty to help unite Virginia’s people—both inside and outside the church—in times of unrest and uncertainty.

“It is important for Christians to be leaders, not only in helping stabilize unrest in society, but in shaping society as a whole—to reflect godliness as a culture,” said VAPN President Steven Harrelson. “Our nation today is very reactive and volatile. Christian leaders have the responsibility to speak truth boldly and in love. I am convinced that the one thing that will unite men and women of every color is Jesus Christ—the One who loves and died for all mankind without prejudice. Bible-believing Christians have been divided on matters of color for long enough, and it is time to stand and show the world what Jesus meant when He said, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’”

As other cities and states consider the removal of what may be viewed as controversial or offensive, NCPN President Dave Kistler, also a co-host on APN’s “Stand in the Gap Today” radio ministry, said that while healing and reconciliation are needed, scrubbing history is not the answer.

“What is so disturbing about the Duke decision, as well as all other removal decisions across the nation, is that it is all being done based on flawed thinking,” Kistler said on a recent “Stand in the Gap Today” radio broadcast. “First, it is being done based on political correctness. In an effort to be more socially accepted, we are throwing away the very history of our nation. Additionally, the attempt to connect the multiplicity of confederate statues across the land to their erector’s racist motivations is a brazen stretch. Acknowledgment of one’s history is not equal to approval of the same. What will be offered next on the altar of political correctness?”

The Price of Silence

Under cover of darkness and nothing more than the result of succumbing to political correctness, the President of famed Duke University in Durham removed a statue of General Robert E. Lee from the front of its chapel.

In all honesty, and much to the chagrin of my many friends in the state of NC, I have been a sizable Duke basketball fan for years. After having read an outstanding piece by Coach “K” a number of years ago (an article in which he boldly stated, “I am not a basketball coach. I am a developer of young men. When I find a better avenue than basketball for accomplishing that task, that’s what I’ll do.”), I became an even more faithful fan.  However, after Friday’s statue removal travesty, I am questioning my loyalty.

What is so disturbing about the Duke decision, as well as all other removal decisions across the nation, is that it is all being done based on flawed thinking. First, it is being done based on political correctness. Honestly, the longer I breathe air, the more perturbed I become toward this heinous motivation. In an effort to be “kinder,” “gentler,” and more socially acceptable, we are throwing away the very history of our nation. Acknowledgment of one’s history is not equal to approval of the same. For heaven’s sake, where is this all going to stop? What’s next that will be offered on the altar of political correctness?

Second, most of the reasons being offered for removing General Lee from our national memory are based on incorrect history or outright lies. Ronald Reagan stated it best. “It’s not that my friends on the other side of the aisle are ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” Well, there is a boatload of “history” being purported that SIMPLY ISN’T SO! To call General Lee a racist is incorrect, insulting, and just plain stupid! He was nothing of the sort. Additionally, the attempt to connect the multiplicity of Confederate statues across the land to their erector’s racist motivations is, well, a brazen stretch to say the least. In fact, it’s almost unforgivable in its stupidity. Yet, this is what is being peddled on unsuspecting and ignorant minds.

Lastly, and most troubling, is the fact that ALL of this is being promoted by individuals/groups with very nefarious designs on America and her future. From George Soros, and his stated hatred for America, to progressive organizations bent on eliminating America’s connection to God, sinister elements abound who will stop at nothing less than destroying America and her Judeo-Christian heritage.

I don’t know about you, but I agree with Todd Starnes (FOX News contributor and friend of our ministries) when he says, “Enough is enough.” It’s time we stand up and say, “You will not malign, demonize, and threaten good people–present and past. Whether it’s the reverse racist Southern Poverty Law Center, or a very misguided state Senator (who ought to be in jail for threatening the President), we will not remain silent while good men are destroyed.

There’s no way to say it other than this. The things that have been stated about General Robert E. Lee (and others of the Confederate generals) are nothing less than the most egregious form of character assassination. The difficulty is this. Lee, Jackson, Stewart, and their companions are not here to defend themselves. So, we, who know the truth, must do so!

Most of all, we must not sit idly by while our history is taken from us by deceptive, diabolical, demonic individuals who hide behind racist accusations, using that to cover their true intent. So, now is the time to arm ourselves with the truth, stand up, and speak with clarity. Acknowledging our history is NOT a direct or tacit endorsement of it’s negative aspects. Respect for imperfect, but great and godly, men is NOT wrong. Recognition of self-less sacrifice in behalf of a cause is not evil. What IS wrong is to allow our nation to be stolen from us by those who care nothing for it, or the one’s they claim they wish to protect.

One final thought is in order. Is the current generation so morally and mentally weak that they cannot deal with the presence of a differing opinion? Are they so fragile that any and all references to that which is, or may border on being, negative must be removed? If so, then God help us if/when they face REAL hardship. If one cannot take an exam because they’re so emotional destabilized over an election result that they are unable to do so, then “Katy bar the door” as a real crisis emerges.

As parents, pastors, politicians, and common people, we MUST again return to that which made us great, saw us through the deepest divide in our nation’s history (the Civil War), and has been the cause of unprecedented blessing as a people–the Bible. Only in its pages can we find the requisite wisdom and moral fortitude for an uncertain future. Only in its pages can we find the One who is the Source of all the above. His matchless name is Jesus Christ–the One Who birthed and has blessed America!

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee
And crowned thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.”

Dave Kistler
President, HOPE Ministries International/HOPE To The Hill
President, North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN)
Co-host, Stand In The Gap Radio

American Pastors Network: Election in Kenya Impacted by Local Pastors, Biblical Voting

APN Volunteers and Partner Pastors Instrumental in Mobilizing Christians to Vote for New President Uhuru Kenyatta; Although Hand of God on Election, Christians and Pastors in Kenya Need Prayer

Last week’s election in Kenya proved to be a statement on the power that Christian voters can have on the outcome of the direction of their nation.

Uhuru Kenyatta was elected the President of Kenya after garnering more than 8.1 million votes (approximately 54 percent). After Kenyatta, who campaigned on Christian beliefs, beat his opponent, former Kenya Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, violence and protests broke out in Kenya, with Odinga’s supporters claiming the results were “hacked,” according to several news reports.

The American Pastors Network  has been watching the Kenya election closely because many voting issues greatly impact pastors, churches and Christians in the African nation.

APN President Sam Rohrer said the American Pastors Network provided encouragement to members of the Kenyan Pastors Network leading up to the election, praying for them and helping them to mobilize Christian voters.

“Leading up to this election and still today,” Rohrer said, “the freedom of Kenyans, Kenyan pastors and the ability to freely preach the Gospel is currently under threat. Had Uhuru Kenyatta not been elected, Islamic, pro-abortion, pro-LGBT and anti-Christian policies would have advanced. Our Kenyan brothers and sisters, and especially our fellow pastors, asked for fervent prayers before and during the election—that the right man would be elected, that the opposition would concede and that violence would not erupt as in other elections. We continue to pray for these matters, as the coming days and weeks will be crucial for Kenya to be able to move forward under a man of God and other leaders who desire to model the country after the founding documents of the United States of America.”

Rohrer added that a U.S.-based APN volunteer who was on the ground in Kenya helped to create and execute several initiatives to encourage values-based voting last week. Kenyatta, feeling the effects of these efforts, led a public prayer before the election, thanking Christians and pastors for their commitment and stating that he would give God the glory if victorious, according to reports from the APN volunteer.

“Pastors there are praying in faith that God will raise them up as a nation to be the leader to all of Africa, that the relationship with the U.S. can be strengthened and that God would enable APN to assist in the final establishment of a Kenyan Pastors Network in order to train leaders and teach pastors the biblical principles needed in both church and government,” Rohrer added. “The involvement of APN in Kenya is similar to work we’ve been blessed and honored to do in Ukraine, where pastors and government leaders are yearning to bring biblical and American constitutional principles to the country.”

Rohrer also noted that this election marked the first time in Kenyan history that Christians encouraged other Christians to vote. In fact, the Christian impact was so strong in the days before the election that a well-known liberal leftist poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign of the opposition to counter the efforts of local pastors and Christians.

Gary Dull, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net), has traveled to Kenya and said the election there has serious ramifications, both in Africa and worldwide.

“There has been a movement among government officials in Kenya to vet pastors concerning their ability to lead churches and preach to their congregations,” Dull said. “In fact, a bill has been authored in this regard. Many pastors in Kenya believe this proposed law is an effort to reduce the preaching of the Gospel in that nation, which may result in a larger influence of Islam throughout the country. It is crucial that believers in America pray for our fellow believers in Kenya during this time when the freedom of religion is being threatened in that great African nation.”

Dull added that prayers are also crucial for the ongoing post-election unrest in Kenya and for the safety of Christian missionaries there.

Open Doors USA estimates that about 82 percent of Kenyans are Christian, but that Islamic oppression remains very high. Kenya is No. 18 on the World Watch List, a tool to track and measure persecution around the world.

Charlottesville Incident Demands Answers to Crucial Questions about Unity in America

“The deplorable circumstances in Charlottesville should indeed get the attention of all Americans. Yet, in the midst of this event, for which both sides share blame, these questions must not be overlooked: What has happened in America to produce such increasing hostilities and anger among our people? And can unity be achieved just by our leaders demanding it?

In reality, we didn’t get to this place by accident nor overnight. The rejection of moral truth, healing and transformative power of redemption and forgiveness available only through Jesus Christ is where it started. The coarsening of society is assured where life in the womb is cavalierly discarded, where God’s plan for the family and human sexuality is jettisoned, where a ‘selfless others focus’ is replaced with a ‘selfish only focus,’ and where duty is replaced with ‘rights.’ Such it is today.

Is unity again achievable? The answer is yes. But, for some, even this statement may be dividing—yet it is nonetheless the truth. Unity is not the goal but a by-product. Unity never demands full agreement in all things by all people. Yet what unity does demand is an agreement on a common body of truth. In the United States, that common body of truth was found in the Judeo-Christian scriptures, where there is God who created life and then ‘endowed certain unalienable rights’ to the people, who ‘under God’ agree with God that He is perfect; that mankind is sinful and not naturally good.

But that redemption and healing through faith in Jesus Christ alone can transform the mind and the heart, and heal families, communities and the nation. No one race, no one color, no one nationality has a claim to this truth. Yet, true equality, true justice and true unity can, in fact, result when people from all walks of life agree with God on these truths.

Any nation or people who believes these things can experience peace, security and unity. Our nation once did—not ever perfect, of course—but overwhelmingly embraced this view, and God blessed it as no nation ever before it. We will now, in this time of increasing need, either look to God and agree with Him and do what He says and regain the freedom we so love, or we will look to ourselves, to government or to some man or woman and descend into the abyss of slavery and totalitarianism. There is no other choice.”

-Sam Rohrer, President

American Pastors Network

To interview Sam Rohrer, contact Beth Harrison at 610.584.1096, x104, media@hamiltonstrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton, 610.584.1096, x102.

To read an article from Lifezette containing more information and quotes from this statement, please click HERE.

APN State Chapter Leadership Conference Call 8/8/17

This audio file is a recording of the State Chapter Leadership Conference call on 8/8/17.

Pennsylvania is Near the Top of the List for Sanctuary Cities & Counties

The state of Pennsylvania has one of the highest number of sanctuary cities and counties in the country—fourth on the list, in fact—behind only Oregon, California and Washington, according to a list from the Center for Immigration Studies.

APN President, Sam Rohrer, frequently discusses issues of immigration and refugees on the popular daily radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today.”

A “sanctuary” city that protects illegal immigrants who may be committing crimes does not equate to the church “sanctuary,” where those who take refuge can find peace.

Rohrer says immigration and the policies surrounding sanctuary cities, including the possibility that these cities could be cut off from federal funding, should be issues that are important to pastors and churches.