As Judge Rules on Border Wall, American Pastors Network Considers Immigration from a Biblical Perspective

President Donald Trump claimed a victory today in the ongoing goal of a border wall to protect America’s security, tweeting that “Our country must have border security!” and “45 year low on illegal border crossings this year. ICE and Border Patrol Agents are doing a great job for our Country.”

On Tuesday, a judge whom Trump had previously accused of bias ruled against an environmental challenge to the president’s central campaign promise, Fox News reported.

As the ongoing debate about immigration and border security continues, the American Pastors Network  has addressed these topics from a biblical perspective through its daily, live radio ministry “Stand in the Gap Today.”

In a segment titled, “Immigration Revisited: What Does the Bible Say?” APN President Sam Rohrer, co-hosts and guests discussed topics such as “America the Melting Pot,” DACA and the response of church leaders, the increase of Christian refugees coming to America and the opportunity to reach souls from around the world in Christians’ own backyard.

“It’s no secret that President Trump feels strongly about putting America first and protecting her borders,” Rohrer said. “Many have reacted to that policy, including Christians who have criticized the president and claimed that his view is unloving or ungodly. But when we look at the Bible and at biblical history, it is absolutely acceptable to favor and support one’s own country. If we understand God’s view—a biblical worldview—we understand that God forms nations. The Book of Acts talks about God laying out the nations with their geographical borders, from before time, so God established countries because He works through them. That’s also why He instituted civil government, which is explored in Romans 13. 

“Nations have personalities,” Rohrer continued. “Consider Israel, a very distinctive nation. God picked Israel and said, ‘I’m going to make of you, Abraham, a great nation and I am going to bless the nations of the world,’ so God clearly favors nations. With that comes the ability and the right to support nations and to pray for them. When we pray for those in authority, we don’t necessarily pray for everyone in positions of authority everywhere in the world. The idea is that we pray for those in authority over us and in our nation.”

The idea of “our nation first” is indeed biblical, Rohrer added. This concept fits the biblical precedent and the model of what God established with Israel.

“Our president is on solid ground when he says we should favor, protect and support our nation because this is where we are citizens,” Rohrer added. “We’re hopefully citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven first, but we are citizens of the United States, and therefore, we have a loyalty to this nation. Our country was founded on Christian principles, and despite the fact that those principles seem to be eroding, one of the things that makes our nation great is that we are founded upon freedom. The average Muslim-majority country is nowhere near as accepting of foreigners and those from other religions as we are in America. And even with the refugee crisis, we will not see Muslim countries stepping up to do more for Muslim refugees—and certainly not more than America and European countries are already doing.”

Rohrer also added that former President Barack Obama had some of the same ideas as President Trump when it comes to immigration. In fact, the “Stand in the Gap Today” hosts shared a clip of then-Sen. Obama promising comprehensive immigration reform and border security as a top priority in his first year as president. Listen to the program here.

“Barack Obama and Donald Trump both recognized a problem that faces all Americans,” Rohrer said, “and all citizens know it. But the goal was different. Obama’s goal was to fundamentally change America. He wanted to change the mix and the culture of America through immigration. But Obama’s idea of immigration reform was clearly something different from Donald Trump’s. One diminishes the role of America and our culture as we have known it, and the other controls immigration so that we don’t fundamentally forever change the culture of America so that it’s no longer what it used to be.”

APN Remembers Billy Graham

The American Pastors Network’s radio ministry, “Stand in the Gap Today” remembered the life of Billy Graham on the day of his death at the age of 99.

“Dr. Billy Graham made an eternal impact on our world by proclaiming the simple truth of the Gospel,” said APN President Sam Rohrer, who is also one of the co-hosts of “Stand in the Gap Today.” “He will always be remembered for the way God touched people’s hearts and minds through his preaching, which motivated many to give their hearts to Christ.”

Rohrer added that Graham will be remembered for the following:

  • For his preaching: Preaching the Gospel clearly and simply around the world.
  • For his family: His wife, Ruth, and his five children, including ministry leaders in their own right, Franklin and Anne, and how the family has remained true to the faith.
  • For his associated ministries: Organizations that care for the poor around the world and demonstrate the love of Christ.
  • For his message: He called sin as sin and Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven, reminding that no one was ever so sinful that Christ’s power to save and heal couldn’t transform.
  • For preservation of his testimony: He wished to be minimized and Christ to be glorified. He put cautions into place to preserve his testimony and the relationship to his wife. For example, Rohrer said, Graham never went into a hotel room until it was checked first. He also put cautions into place regarding his finances and instituted a separate board to handle all the finances so he could not be accused of wrongdoing.
  • For his balanced role: He was not a troublemaker or a bomb thrower. He was a uniting force and a balm in troubled times.

Rohrer and the other “Stand in the Gap” co-hosts talked further about Graham’s life and how pastors in all pulpits can emulate at least one aspect of his service and ministry. Listen to a clip from yesterday’s show here.

American Pastors Network Keeps Christian Persecution at Forefront Through Radio Show, New Coalition

The American Pastors Network is addressing Christian persecution head-on, both through its radio ministry “Stand in the Gap Today” and as a member of a newly formed coalition called Save the Persecuted Christians.

In recent shows, host and APN President Sam Rohrer has welcomed multiple guests to the show to help raise awareness about numerous worldwide incidents of Christians suffering for their beliefs.

“Christian persecution has reached terrible and alarming heights, yet so little is being done about it, so we were honored and moved to join a large coalition made up of concerned individuals and action-oriented organizations who are working together to ‘Save the Persecuted Christians’ around the world,” Rohrer said. “It will take an all-hands-on deck approach—and now—to address the horrendous persecution worldwide. Specifically, we have discussed the attacks on Christians in Muslim countries, and namely, that the worst persecution happens when the power and the sword of government joins forces with the ‘moral’ imprimatur of a religious ideology.”

APN is a member of the new Save the Persecuted Christians coalition, which has the mission to protect Christians worldwide who are suffering discrimination, torture, rape, slavery, banishment and murder—simply because they believe in Jesus Christ.

The goal of the STPC coalition is to greatly reduce—and to deter—the further, global persecution of Christians. Beyond calling attention to the oppression of Christians worldwide, the immediate task is to disseminate actionable information about ways in which the American people can help those being persecuted.

The initiative was announced Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, by asking faith leaders and houses of worship across America to post banners outside for two reasons: 1) build awareness and 2) encourage engagement by visiting, where resource kits can be ordered and downloaded. The banners feature the “nun” letter, which has become an international symbol for the oppression of Christians ever since the Islamic State used this first letter of the Arabic word for “Nazarene” to designate homes of followers of Christ targeted for persecution.

A model for the coalition was the Save the Soviet Jewry campaign of the 1970s, which started out with banners and signage outside synagogues and churches across America and turned into a powerful political movement and catalyst for policy changes that ultimately helped free the USSR’s oppressed Jews.

“For far too long, and particularly under the Obama presidency, the plight of persecuted Christians and Jews at the hands of not only Islamic ideology-driven but also the atheistic ideologies of North Korea or China was given little attention,” Rohrer concluded. “This has, in part, contributed to the nearly unrestrained increase in Christian persecution worldwide. It has reached a point where no civil person, certainly no God-fearing or liberty-loving person can any longer sit to the side. We have an obligation biblically to assist where we can those who are persecuted for their faith.”

Listen to the two recent programs on Christian persecution here and here.

“Stand in the Gap Today,” which airs on 425 stations nationwide, can be heard live online from noon to 1 p.m. EST at American Pastors at the orange “Listen Live” button on the right-hand side of the webpage; find a station here.

1-30-18: Rebuilding the Spiritual Infrastructure of our Inner Cities

Isaac Crockett: 

Well thank you so much for tuning into our program today. We are joined by Dr. Gary Dull, the executive director of our Pennsylvania Pastors Network. He’s the senior pastor of the Faith Baptist Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania. We have evangelist Dave Kistler, the president of the North Carolina Pastors Network, and founder and president of Hope to the Hill Ministries. I’m Pastor Isaac Crockett, senior pastor at Hamburg Bible Church in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. We also have a returning special guest with us today, Pastor Matt Recker, senior pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Manhattan.

So, thank you so much for tuning in. We’re looking forward to talking with our special guests today. But tonight I just wanted to bring up, there’s a speech going to be coming up tonight. The President is going to be giving, actually, his first State of the Union address. I would just kind of like to know what you guys, as pastors and evangelists, think about the state of our country under the leadership of President Donald Trump.

So, Gary, this speech usually will focus a good bit on the strengths of our military and our economic position. I know that you have family members and close friends in our military. I thought I would ask you first what you think of the state of our union right now as it goes to our military and the job performance of our president in leading our military, maybe compared to the job performance of our former president, President Barack Obama.

Gary Dull:   

Really? Compared to President Barack Obama? Well, let me put it this way, Isaac. I would say that the state of the union is strong, as I see it. From the economic perspective and from the international perspective. I know that perhaps not everybody would agree with that, that may be listening to us here today. But you asked particularly as it relates to the military. You know, Isaac, under Barack Obama’s administration, our military was weakened. It was cut down, whether you are talking about our ships at sea, our airplanes, whatever the case may be. Things had been reduced, even to the point that some of the ships and some of the airplanes that we have right now can’t even float, can’t even fly, can’t even perform their duties, because they’ve just been allowed to run down. There has been a low morale amongst those who are a part of the military.

You know, I have a son who is a Major in the Army. He’s in Special Ops. He’s a Ranger. He has told me that since Donald Trump is in the White House, that the sense of morale, the sense of strength, the sense of encouragement is coming back into the military, into the Army that he joined back in 2001. I think that what we will see tonight is Donald Trump saying that the military is strong, and it’s getting stronger, and I would agree with that 100%.

Isaac Crockett:  

All right, wow. That’s a good inside look coming from your position there, and with your son. Dave, you travel all over the country, and so you see things that some of us maybe don’t see. The news is saying stock markets are at a record high, unemployment is at almost record lows. Do you see this as you travel around? Then also, when we look at the seemingly good economy, is that a credit to President Trump? Or some in the media are claiming it’s really the lingering effects that President Obama had on the economy. I guess my question for you is do you see things getting better, and do you think that if Hillary Clinton would have been elected that we would have as strong and as robust of an economy?

Dave Kistler:

Isaac, let me say this. I just left Miami, Florida, a few weeks back. I was in a very affluent area of Miami, ministering in a church there and had a chance to interact with a lot of people from that area and that economy, South Florida. It is absolutely incredible what is taking place economically. All of this is based on policy that the president has implemented. It has really nothing to do as far as lingering effects from the prior president. It has everything to do with what this president has done with deregulation. You remember he said for every one new regulation we put in place, we’re going to eliminate at least two. Some people are saying it’s closer to 20 regulations are being eliminated for every new regulation put in place. The market loves that. It is thriving on that.

We’ve had 80 some record highs on the stock market. Now right now, today, stock market’s down about 300 points. That’ll probably be temporary because of sell-off of stock in the healthcare market, or the healthcare sector. But everything that’s going on right now that I’m seeing, whether it’s Florida, whether it’s North Carolina, up into Virginia, D.C. area, it is absolutely amazing what is taking place economically. Remember guys, the effects of the tax bill do not actually go into effect until February. Here we are, guys, on the front end of it; it’s all anticipation of what’s to come. No, Isaac. It’s all the effects of what this president’s doing, and it’s really amazing to watch.

Isaac Crockett: 

Wow. More important than our economic health is the spiritual health of our nation. I want to go to our special guest. We’ll say more about him next segment, but today we have with us a New Yorker. Born and raised in New York City, in the New York City area. A pastor there for over three decades now. Very familiar, I’m sure, with the name and personality of our president, Donald Trump. Pastor Matt Recker, thank you for being on with us today. Let me ask you this quick question, then. I don’t think any of us imagined that Donald Trump would be a president that would appoint so many Christians and conservatives into such high positions, and people who follow the constitution. What is your reaction as a pastor in New York City? You’ve seen Donald Trump pretty much all your life as a celebrity. What is your reaction to seeing how he’s leading our nation? Especially spiritually?

Matt Recker:

Wow. Well, that’s an incredible question to think of President Trump leading our nation spiritually. You know? When we consider his history. As our president now, I see him … As he even spoke last week as a cheerleader for our country, and not an apologizer for our culture. That is so refreshing to me. Overall, I believe that it is shocking, in the best sort of way, to see our president, Trump, now, perhaps arguably, as the most pro-life and pro-Israel president-

Isaac Crockett:


Matt Recker:  

Perhaps that we’ve ever even had.

Isaac Crockett:  


Matt Recker: 

Now, if you had told me that 20 years ago, I would have thought you were absolutely crazy. I was not a Donald Trump person. I’ve never even saw one of his shows, so I would never have supported Donald Trump. I never saw that fired show that he did. I never saw it. I didn’t really follow him. I just saw that he would make the news, with all of his, you know, often his adulteries, and divorces, and remarriages, and stuff. Who would have thought this? I think it’s shocking, in the best sort of way, that now he has become the first United States president to address an anti-abortion march. Sarah Sanders, the White House secretary, said that the president is committed to protecting the life of the unborn. He’s excited to be part of this historic event. That’s incredible to me. I think it’s shocking how the liberal left is truly afraid of President Trump, and are constantly attacking him. Even yesterday, the New York Times ran two editorials on the threat of Donald Trump to abortion rights. One of them entitled “The White House Puts the Bible Before the Hippocratic Oath”. That’s incredible.

Isaac Crockett: 


Matt Recker: 

And incredibly shocking, in a great way.

Isaac Crockett: 

Wow. That is exciting. When we come back, we’ll be speaking more with our special guest, Matt Recker, the author of “Behold the City”. We want to come back and talk about sometimes having to confront our culture with the truth, how we do it, why it’s necessary, by hearing some stories from Matt’s ministry. You really don’t want to miss out on any of this information we have coming right up after this break.

Welcome back to the program. As we do on this program and Stand in the Gap, we talk about issues that we are facing in our country in regards to our culture, and dealing with a culture that, for the most part, does not want the truth of God’s word. It seems to be that this is especially the case in many of our urban centers, our big cities. We’ve discussed, this month in particular, we’ve been looking at the issues of human trafficking, of the persecuted church, and of abortion. Right here on Stand in the Gap today. When it comes to abortion especially, New York City, unfortunately, has one of the highest rates in the world. I want to go back to our special guest now, and ask Pastor Matt Recker from Heritage Baptist Church. He’s a returning guest. I think this is your first time on with us this year, though, Matt. So, thank you so much. I want to welcome you to our program. Thanks for making time to be with us today.

Matt Recker: 

Joy to be with you.

Isaac Crockett:

But, Matt, could you maybe tell me a little information, or tell our listeners, a little bit about some of the high abortion rates that are in the city where you live and where you minister in?

Matt Recker:

Sure, Isaac. Again, thank you for having me. It’s great to be on with you in Stand in the Gap. Congratulations for the success and growth of the outreach of this program; may God continue to bring you His blessing, and continue to influence. Yeah, New York City has the highest abortion rates in the United States. When we talk about abortion, I know we can give a lot of statistics, and they kind of fly right by us. But, I want to give two statistics; hopefully make them a little memorable. The one is 60%. Just remember 60%. That is, 60% of New York City’s birthrate is abortions. That is … So, the numbers are, there were like 70,000 abortions, and 117,000 births. The city’s abortion rate is 60% of it’s birth rate. Which is astronomical. The ratio of that is, like, 600 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Another statistic that I have come across in recent years that is just so astounding about abortion …

This is general, not about New York. Just remember these numbers. 60 million. There have been about 60 million abortions since 1973. In contrast to that, there have been about 1.3 million died in all the wars of American history. Compare those numbers. 58 million to 1.3 and a half million. 58 million abortions. 1.35 million have died in all the wars of American history. The great war in this country has been against babies in the womb. Totally defenseless children. Another thing that’s very tragic about the New York City abortion situation is that more black babies have been aborted in New York City than born in New York City. The real war against black lives is the babies in the womb. In spite of this, sadly, Mayor De Blasio is a proud partner of Planned Parenthood, which is really just an abortion clinic. Abortion is a terrible, terrible tragedy. It should break our hearts as Christians, and I know it breaks the hearts of many. I really see that abortion is nothing more than Old Testament Baal worship, which had child sacrifice. Now modern-day abortion has dressed up Old Testament Baal worship and child sacrifice, and renamed it pro-choice. It’s a terrible, terrible time against God.

Gary Dull:

You know, Matt, it’s a delight to have you with us. Of course, I could remember a number of years ago on live television that I debated the director of Planned Parenthood. I said something like this at one point. That when a lady wants to have an abortion, she doesn’t think of the fact that there is life in that womb before birth. This particular lady came right back at me and said, “Yes, that is correct.” So, my response was, “Well then, every woman that has an abortion is quite selfish. Correct?” Well, she really didn’t know how to answer that question. I remember her face turning red. It’s just a sad thing to consider. You know, a few months ago, back in October of 2017, a well-known pastor in New York City was on a television program called The View. I think most of us are aware of that particular program. He was asked by cohost Joy Behar if he believed abortion was wrong. In his answer, he did not condemn abortion. In fact, his answer sounded like someone who was pro-choice when he said, and I quote, “People have to live their own convictions.” End quote. Now, since then, he has clarified that he does believe that abortion is sinful. Unfortunately, Matt, I’ve heard a lot of pastors take a politically correct attitude towards abortion along the lines of this particular pastor we’re talking about. I think that that’s very sad. But, Matt, do you ever preach against abortion in a city where you know many of the people you’re trying to evangelize are probably pro-choice?

Matt Recker: 

Sure. I mean, we have to preach the Bible. Abortion is murder. I only say that after carefully studying the Bible, and what the Bible says about life in the womb; that life clearly, scripturally, begins at conception. And life clearly grows in the womb. Bible characters were set apart from the womb, like Jeremiah, and Samson, John the Baptist. The baby in the womb is called a child. I did a series on our own radio program, 10 Reasons Why Abortion is Murder. I know that sounds inflammatory, but that is the Bible truth. You know, it’s another exciting thing, really, today. Not only do we clearly have the Bible on our side. That’s why we do need to stand against the sin of abortion. But, science is now clearly more than ever on our side. You know? That’s why the left is really, I think, in a tizzy over this. They’re losing this battle for the first time, really, in a long time. I mentioned recently in our church that abortion is one of the saddest illustrations of what Isaiah 5:20 said; where Isaiah wrote, “Woe to them that call evil good.”

Gary Dull:


Matt Recker: 

“And good evil. That put darkness for light, and light for darkness. Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes.” I believe the Bible’s crystal clear on these things, and abortion is a way people are calling light darkness. You mentioned a pastor in New York City. That particular pastor, he’s like Tiny Tim, tiptoeing through the tulips while children die and the family’s being destroyed.

Gary Dull:    


Matt Recker: 

His lukewarm, accommodating responses to sin, and his compromises are truly tragic. Yet, his church is growing, and filled with the stars and celebrities and things. That’s the tragedy. It’s really just … I mentioned Baal worship, earlier. That’s kind of like how Baal worship infiltrated the true worship of God, and then compromised the people of God in the land. We have to stand against it, even though it might seem popular.

Gary Dull:  


Dave Kistler: 

Matt, you and I go back all the way to our college days. We attended the same Bible college, and it’s great to have you on the program. You have written an outstanding book called “Behold the City”. Matt, I have read a portion of that book just in the last couple of days, and it is a virtual walking museum of exciting stories and illustrations of your life in New York City. There’s one particular account I want to focus on where you chased after a man who said he had a gun. He had grabbed a lady’s purse. You pursued him down one of the streets there, Flatbush Avenue there, in New York City. When the incident was over, you wrote this comment, and you’ve included it in your book. It’s an amazing statement. I want to read it; then I want to ask you a question about it.

You said in, and I quote, “As I considered my sudden display of boldness while running down Flatbush Avenue shouting at the top of my lungs, ‘Stop that thief!’, I was ashamed at my lack of daily boldness concerning the needs of a man’s soul. A lady had had her purse stolen with perhaps a few dollars in it, and I was willing to make a fool out of myself. But what about the millions of souls in New York City held captive by Satan? Am I willing to be a fool for Christ’s sake in order to reach them with the gospel?” Wow, Matt. Powerful statement. What kind of advice would you give to listeners to this program – many of whom are actually preachers – who may be afraid at this point to be a fool for Christ’s sake in order to reach someone with the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Matt Recker: 

Yeah. Well, thank you, Dave. Thank you for your kind words about my book. I do remember that incident. It was a few years ago. I was a little younger. That thief didn’t know I was a cross country runner in high school. I’m not very fast, but I have endurance.

Gary Dull:   

Good for you.

Matt Recker:       

I just kept after him. It was kind of funny, when I look back at it, anyway. Because I was running after him, and I started running after him, and other people started following me. The thief stopped when I got around the corner, too. He stopped. Then I looked behind me. I saw more people running my way. I was like, “Come on, guys. Let’s get this thief.” He did give the purse back, and that was a blessing. But, yeah, I was willing to make a fool out of myself. I ran down the street … Remember, we were getting ready for a church supper. I was basically in a tie and I had my wingtips on. I was running down the street. I didn’t have sneakers.

Gary Dull: 

You should have … That means you flew. Wingtips.

Matt Recker:

Then, it hit me. Am I willing to do that to preach the gospel to others? What I would just simply say is, we need to pray. And ask God for boldness every day. It’s never easy. When we go out and pass out tracks in the subway, week after week … Passing out that first track, and just opening my mouth up, and telling people, “Hey, Jesus loves you.” Then I start passing out tracks. Then I get a burden to tell every person in New York City, “Jesus loves you.”

Dave Kistler: 

Amen. Amen.

Matt Recker:

And offer them a gospel track. You know? That’s what I try to do. I would say, put a track in your pocket as you leave the house. Pray, and ask God to help you give it out. Maybe give it out to your dry cleaner. Maybe give it out to the person checking you out at the supermarket. We need to see souls as God sees them; as lost. As those needing the gruesome, yet the glorious death and resurrection of Christ to forgive them. Only Jesus can. We have to see them as blinded, and deceived by Satan, the god of this world.

Isaac Crockett: 

We’ve been talking with our good friend, Pastor Matt Recker. He’s grown up in the New York City area, and he’s been pastoring and planting churches in New York City for over 30 years. During that time, I’m sure you have seen, Matt, that there are a lot of churches who seem to be moving away from the inner cities, away from the big cities. Oftentimes Christians living in our cities say that there are not enough Bible believing churches there. Matt, you wrote in your book about the difficulties facing somebody who wants to reach our cities for Christ. You said, “Humanly speaking, there are many reasons one would want to avoid the city.” Could you maybe talk about that? Some of the difficulties that there could be in coming to the city, and trying to reach folks in our big cities?

Matt Recker: 

Sure. Thank you, Isaac. Well, I would say, first of all, what’s such a concern to us is raising our children. And where they’re going to go to school, and who their friends are going to be. That’s a challenge in urban ministry; just raising our families. Parking your car. When we first lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn, we had to move our car back and forth across the street with opposite side street parking laws. We couldn’t keep a car seat in our car. Every time we had to go somewhere with the kids, or something, we had to take the car seats in and out. I call them urban inconveniences. There are many things like that. The pace of the city, the traffic in the city. Just to get from one place to another; it sometimes takes two hours to go 15 minutes, you know? It can be frustrating, and irritating. The city is the devil’s playground. It is the devil’s stronghold, and there’s a spiritual battle being fought in the urban ministry. Some of these are the reasons, but the bottom line is, Bible believing Christians, we need to stop running. I almost said to one preacher one day how so many churches, when the neighborhoods change, color and culture, many churches shrink because they don’t adjust to reach the changing culture around them. When their church shrinks, they feel like, “We got to move out of this community now.” Why? There’s more, there’s people there. People for whom Christ died. So many churches have moved when it’s changed color and culture. Bible believing Christians, I think they’ll all be pooled together in Kansas. You know? Because everybody’s moved out of the city.

Dave Kistler:

Matt, I can hear in your voice a passion for New York City, and I love every bit of it. Something you said about how long it takes you just to get around the city. Obviously, because of our ministry up on Capitol Hill, we deal with some of the same things. It’s uniquely different from New York City, but the travel times are frequently the same. My son lives about 32 miles outside the city. When we’re there, we also stay in the same location. It’s about an hour and 20 minute, hour and 30 minute drive in. Because of D.C. traffic, about another hour and 30 minute drive out at the end of the day. But I love every bit of it. I absolutely love it, like you love ministry in New York City. Let me ask you a question. I know you grew up in New York. I know that’s your background. What is it about ministry to New Yorkers that, all these years later, 33 years after you planted your first ministry there, that still ignites a passion in your heart?

Matt Recker: 

Ultimately, Dave, it’s the word of God in my soul. That keeps the passion. That’s really it. It’s a passion for the people that are here in the city. Because God has much people in this city. That’s what keeps me going in the city. I think that, two, why many have avoided urban ministry in a place like New York is because of our definition of success that we have in our mind for what is a successful ministry. It’s difficult to attain in urban ministry. In other words, if I were to say, “Having a successful ministry is buying land, building a building, and growing a church after I have bought land and built it”, then I’m a failure. I’ve failed in urban ministry. Our church is 20 years old, and we’re still being kicked to the sidewalk. And having to find space here or there. As far as the passion, it still comes by the word of God, and by the Holy Spirit. Working through those times of discouragement, and seeming failure, but knowing that this is where God has called me to be.

Gary Dull: 

You know, Matt, I praise the Lord that you are there in Manhattan. I, as Dave said, I’m very familiar with Washington, D.C. I lived there for a number of years, and I pastored a number of years. During the period of time that I pastored there, a lot of churches moved out of inside Washington to the suburbs, to Virginia, to Maryland. Consequently, it created the situation that allowed even greater sinfulness to be brought into the city, because there was less Evangelism going on. It’s really a serious thing to take into consideration. I have heard in some situations, however, that some of those churches that have gone out of the city now are trying to come back into the city with their ministry. But, Matt, you wrote, and I quote your words, “Paul understood that one of the best vehicles of propagation of the gospel was the city.” Now, let’s take a look at the Apostle Paul. How is a big city like Rome that he was involved with in his day or New York City in our day a vehicle for sharing the gospel around the world, Matt?

Matt Recker: 

Yeah. Well, there is that old saying that all roads led to Rome. I believe Paul understood the power of the influence that a city has. Because since all roads lead to Rome, all roads also led from Rome. If the gospel can break into the city, then the gospel can break out of the city. That’s why I wrote that statement that Paul understood that one of the best vehicles to propagate the gospel was the city. Because the city doesn’t stand still. The city is constantly moving. In other words, people are coming into our cities right now from all around the world. Immigrants are coming. As immigrants come, people are being pushed out. We have to try to get the gospel to people, because they’re going to be moving on. They’ll be going somewhere else and then, Lord willing, bring the gospel with them. The idea of the city being a propagator of the gospel … And I really believe that Paul was a jungle rat, but an urban jungle rat. When he was on his missionary journeys, really, the second missionary journey when he got his first call to a specific place, and it was to Macedonia … Which was a general area of northern Greece, but then he went to the cheap cities of Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea. From there on, from that point on until the end of his life, he stayed in the city to Rome. All the way to Rome. I believe that Paul saw that the city was the opportunity to reach the world in one place. If we’re called to carry the gospel to the world, which we are, the world is in the city. That’s Paul’s urban attitude, and that should be the urban attitude we have. Not the fearful, media-created bias attitude that often plagues many of our modern minds.

Isaac Crockett: 

Oh, wow. Thank you. That’s very helpful, Matt. We just have a couple of minutes before the break on this segment. I wonder if you could maybe share with our listeners maybe some Bible passages or some biblical principles that can help us, encourage us, to go out of our way to minister to people even in cases where people look a lot different than us, or come from a different background than us.

Matt Recker: 

Yeah. As I mentioned earlier, really, my passion for the city comes first from the Bible. Then from experience. But, the Bible verses that have been most meaningful to me for urban ministry are Acts 18:10. Paul in Corinth. God telling Paul, “Be not afraid, but speak. Hold not your peace, for I have much people in this city.” That is a powerful verse that I’ve always … I feel like that’s for New York City, and that promises for me in New York City. God has been true to that verse, as well to me. Micah 6:9. Where it says, “The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city. The man of wisdom shall see thy name.” So, I believe God’s voice is crying to the city, and I want to be that voice for him in our city. Then, Jonah 4:10. God says, “Should not I spare Nineveh?” That is, God’s heart and passion is for the cities that his people want to run from. Like, Jonah was running from Nineveh. He wanted God to just destroy it. You know? But he had a burden for the city.

Isaac Crockett:  

Wow, amen. You know, in this show we talk about a biblical worldview, and looking at these issues from the Bible. It’s so clear to see God’s redemptive plan will make a difference in our neighborhoods, wherever we are; but especially when it comes to our big cities; to urban ministry. We need to see God at work, and we need Christians there willing to be the light, willing to confront darkness as children of light. Walking carefully, circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time.

Welcome back, and it’s hard to believe that this is already our last segment. We’ve had our special guest with us, Pastor Matt Recker from New York City. He’s also the author of many different pamphlets, and articles, and has done radio and YouTube things on his own. He’s also written two books. “Behold the City” and “Living on the Edge of Eternity”. Both of which I would highly recommend to our listeners. As we’ve been talking with him about confronting our culture with a biblical worldview, especially looking at inner city ministry, Matt, could you just remind our listeners, just go over some of the quick biblical commands that we’ve been given to evangelize our cities with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Matt Recker:

Yes, Isaac. Can I also just, before I answer that question, I would like to share a blessing and also a prayer request for our ministry here. I mentioned earlier that our church is, we’re coming up on our 22nd year. Through these years, on Sundays, we’ve met in schools of various kinds; public schools, private schools. We’ve been kicked out of various places. We’ve fought with the, you know, there’s a whole big legal battle between the Board of Education and churches meeting in schools. Which we’re able to do, now; right now. But we don’t know for how long. We could be literally kicked out, right, today, from our Sunday morning meeting place; we just never know. Recently, we were also asked by our Midtown office location that they were not going to renew our lease. They said they don’t want to rent to churches. We had to find another office space. We were paying, at the other place, $6,555 a month. I don’t know if that’s a lot of money to you, but $6,555 is a lot for our church. It’s a small place. We couldn’t even have Sunday morning church there. That was just during the week. Anyway, we got kicked out of there. We found another place. It’s a lot smaller. It’s a little less money. Our goal has been to buy our own condominium space. We’re not trying to buy land to build a building; we’re trying to literally buy, like, a commercial condo place within a big building. That’s what we’ve been trying to do. We’d like to raise about 1.5 million dollars. We have about 700,000. Which is a lot of money, still, but not enough to really do what we want to do. The point I want to say, and I want to praise God, and I also want to ask your prayers, and your listeners to pray for God to bless us in this city, is yesterday we got the biggest gift we ever have received. Somebody gave our church $75,000 yesterday. Which was such a sign from the Lord. Our first day in this new, smaller office – which we’re hoping will be temporary, so we can get our new place – and we had our biggest gift ever. That was such a blessing, you know. Wanted to share that.

Dave Kistler:

Matt, let me jump in and ask you a quick question here. I know we’ve got just about two and a half minutes-

Matt Recker:  

Yeah, just a couple of minutes. Yeah.

Dave Kistler:

Yeah, we have just a couple of minutes. Could you very quickly just … I mean, I know there’s a long story to it, but share with us a little bit how you personally came to faith in Jesus Christ.

Matt Recker:

I was a lost drug addict, pot smoking college student at Clemson. Some wonderful people at Clemson started witnessing to me, and they led me to the Lord. That’s the bottom line. They showed me Jesus, and I realized I was a sinner. I was on my way to hell. I needed Jesus Christ to save me. I never understood, Dave, that I was a sinner. I heard that Jesus died for me, but I thought I was a good person. It wasn’t until I realized I wasn’t a good person, I was a sinner. And I was going to die and go to hell. Then I understood why Jesus died for me. Then they told me about this church in Manhattan. I started going to that church in Manhattan and God, from there, as I mentioned earlier, used verses like Acts 18:10, and Micah 6:9, and Jonah 1, verse 2. “Arise, and go to Nineveh, and commissioned passages to reach every creature, and go to all nations.” From there, God just gave me a burden for the city.

Isaac Crockett:

Amen. That burden has now taken you for over 30 years planting churches, pastoring churches, and writing this book, “Behold the City”. Which, again, I would encourage folks who are interested in this … I like some of the things you have in there. Chapters like how an ordinary person can go about doing this. It’s just neat to see how God’s hand of blessing has been upon you. I thank you for being on our show today, and for some of the reminders coming from the Bible of what we need to do; that there are much people in the city, and to be praying for boldness for all of us, that we’d be willing to go out and to find people to witness to, and to share the story of how God has worked in our lives. I’m going to go to Dr. Gary Dull, and ask, Pastor Gary, if you could wrap things up for our program today, and close our time in prayer. We just appreciate so much having this opportunity to speak to you, our listeners, today, and to talk about what God is doing in spite of the evil and the darkness in our culture; that we have been called to be children of light, and to stand up for the great one, the light of the world, Jesus Christ, our loving savior.

Gary Dull:

Matt, I want to thank you very much for being with us today, and giving us the challenge to reach all people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. You know, I often say that every time you hear of a murder, every time you hear of an abortion, every time you hear of crime, that if that person would have been reached for Christ, the chances that that crime would have taken place would be a whole lot less. Thank you, Matt Recker, for your ministry there in Manhattan at the Heritage Baptist Church. Ladies and gentlemen, I would encourage you to be praying for this very valid ministry in the heart of New York City.

A Historic Example Of Judicial Activism: The Cantwell Case

by David W. New, Esq.

(Originally published in 2005. Updated in 2018.)

     The problem of judicial activism is on the radar scope more today than ever before. Many people who were not sure if judicial activism was a problem changed their mind when the Supreme Court ruled that homosexuals have a right to marry. The American Bar Association released a poll which indicated that more than half of all Americans believe judicial activism is a serious problem. Note 1.

Many people think judicial activism is something new. However, the history books suggest that it has been with us since the 1940’s if not earlier. In my opinion, one of the most important examples of judicial activism in American history occurred on May 20, 1940. On this date, the Supreme Court decided the Cantwell v. Connecticut case. Note 2.

Surprisingly, very few Americans know anything about this case. However, the Cantwell case has affected your life in a very big way. If religious freedom is important to you then you should learn as much as possible about this case. Cantwell could be the most important religion case in American history. In fact, it could be argued that it is more important than the First Amendment.

In this article, I will explain why the Cantwell case is important. I will provide the basic facts of the case and how it affected religion law in the United States.

In a nutshell, the Supreme Court through the Cantwell case illegally seized control of religious freedom in the United States. As a result of this case, the Supreme Court began a new career as the final referee for issues involving the separation of church and state in America. Thus, Cantwell was a turning point for religious freedom in American history.

The Basic Facts of the Cantwell Case

The Cantwell family were very devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. Newton Cantwell and his two sons Jesse and Russell wanted to share their faith with other people. One day in 1938, they went door to door in New Haven, Connecticut to spread the Good News of the Kingdom to come. Apparently, a problem began when they went to Cassius Street, which was a neighborhood thickly populated with Roman Catholics. The Cantwells would play a phonograph record titled “Enemies” which attacked the Catholic Church. At one point, a dispute arose between young Jesse Cantwell and two other individuals over the recording. The police had to intervene and Newton Cantwell and his sons were charged with inciting a breach of the peace and soliciting money for a religious organization without a license. This began a legal fight that would change America forever.

Today the hot button issues involving religion are the display of the Ten Commandments and the so called ‘rights’ of homosexuals. In the 1920’s and 30’s, it was about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Many Americans felt this group had made a nuisance of themselves by constantly going door to door. State and local governments responded by requiring anyone who went door to door to ask for money to first obtain a permit. The Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to comply with these laws.

Religious Freedom Before Cantwell

Prior to the Cantwell case, disputes involving the separation of church and state were left to the states. The state constitution and laws drew the line between church and state. Consequently, the separation between church and state varied from one state to another. The people in each state through their elected representatives decided how religion and government would interact. This of course was the intent of the First Amendment. It is an undisputed fact that the Framers of our Constitution intended religion issues to be left to the states. Unless the Federal Government was directly involved somehow, federal courts would not intervene.

The Cantwell case reversed this. The Supreme Court reversed the Framers of our Constitution.

Religious Freedom After Cantwell

As a result of the Cantwell case, a new institution would have the power to decide church state issues. This institution was the Supreme Court. Many Americans might be surprised to learn that prior to 1940, the Supreme Court rarely decided religion cases. From the time the Supreme Court came into existence in 1790 until 1940 there were approximately 12 to 15 cases which could be classified as religion cases. This is true because the Framers of our Constitution gave the Supreme Court a very limited role in this area. Unless the Federal Government was involved, the Supreme Court stayed out of the case.

How did the Supreme Court get the power to control religion law in the states? By expanding the jurisdiction of the First Amendment to include the states. When the Supreme Court ruled that the state governments must obey the First Amendment, this effectively transferred power from the states to the Supreme Court for religion cases. This is what Cantwell did. Cantwell said the states must obey the religion clauses in the First Amendment. Before Cantwell, the states were not bound by it. The Cantwell case said the states must obey the First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Exercise Clause which says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . .”

By limiting the First Amendment to the Federal Government, no one should think the Framers wanted the states to abuse the freedom of religion. Surely this cannot be true. The Framers limited the jurisdiction of the First Amendment because they believed the people in each state through their own constitution were better able to protect the freedom of religion.

The most important effect of the Cantwell case was to transfer power. Power over religion was transferred from the states to the Supreme Court. Essentially, religion law in the United States became federalized in 1940. In addition, the separation of powers for religion law within the Federal Government does not exists. The Supreme Court alone has almost all the power. The President and Congress can affect religion law only at the margins. The federal takeover of religion law has been so complete that if you deleted the religion clauses in the state constitutions very little would change. The state religion clauses are largely worthless. Only the First Amendment counts or to be more precise, only the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the First Amendment counts. Groups like the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State strongly support the transfer of power for religion law to the Supreme Court. These groups oppose what the Framers of our Constitution wanted for America.

Why the Cantwell Case is More Important Than the First Amendment

In a sense, the Cantwell case is more important than the First Amendment because it gave the Supreme Court the power to control religion in the states. The Framers of the First Amendment did not do it. They wanted the states to be free to govern themselves. This is why the First Amendment begins with the word “Congress.” By beginning the First Amendment with the word “Congress” this excluded state and local governments from its jurisdiction. Cantwell reversed this. In effect, Cantwell amended the First Amendment! Very few Americans are aware that the First Amendment was amended in 1940. But in a sense it was. The First Amendment has 45 words in it. It begins with “Congress shall make no law . . . ” In 1940, the Supreme Court amended it to add three words. It now has 48 words “Congress and no State shall make no law . . . ”

The Supreme Court violated the Constitution when they de facto amended the First Amendment. They enlarged its jurisdiction to include the states.

How Cantwell Affected the Public Schools

The authority to remove prayer and Bible reading from the public schools in America was based on the Cantwell case. In 1962 and ‘63, the Supreme Court removed vocal prayer and Bible reading from the classroom. What authority did the Supreme Court cite to do this? The Cantwell case. Note 3. Prior to Cantwell, there were about 30 cases which involved prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. This covered a period from the1850’s to the 1930’s. In every case, the state constitution and laws decided the case. The First Amendment was never used. However, after Cantwell this would no longer be possible. The First Amendment must now decide the case. The first time the First Amendment was used in a school prayer/Bible reading case was in 1950. Why is the Cantwell case more important than the First Amendment? Because the First Amendment originally did not give the Supreme Court the power to decide these cases. Activist judges on the Supreme Court made a bogus claim that the Fourteenth Amendment required them to apply the First Amendment to the states. The fact that it took more than 70 years after the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified (1868) to make this claim has never been explained by the Supreme Court. It remains a mystery to this day.

Interestingly, in the 30 cases discussed above, as long as student participation was voluntary, state courts overwhelmingly ruled in favor of prayer and Bible reading. If student participation was not voluntary, the courts made it voluntary. They did not ban prayer and the Bible. If the Supreme Court had never decided the Cantwell case, it’s likely these activities would continue in many schools today. Each state would be free to decide the issue for itself. No doubt this explains why the ACLU strongly supports the transfer of power for religion law to the Supreme Court.

How Cantwell Affected the Ten Commandments

In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled against the display of the Ten Commandments in the Kentucky public schools. What authority did the Supreme Court cite to do this? The Cantwell case. Specifically, the Supreme Court cited Abington v. Schempp which in turn cited Cantwell. You may recall the Supreme Court banned the Bible for moral instruction in the public schools in 1963 in the Abington case.  Note 4.

In 2005, the Supreme Court decided two cases involving the display of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky and Texas. What authority did the Supreme Court cite to do this? Again, the Cantwell Case.

Special Note: If prayer, Bible reading or the Ten Commandments were displayed on federal property such as in a school on a military base, then the Supreme Court would have the authority to hear the case.

Judicial Activism in Cantwell

Judicial activism is a serious threat to our freedom. It subverts the authority of the Constitution and threatens the independence of the judiciary. The Cantwell case resulted in an unconstitutional transfer of power from the states and a massive loss of freedom for the American people. Sadly, when the Supreme Court removed prayer from the public schools, they set an example of intolerance for religion. The message they sent was that prayer is offensive speech. Today, many people are ‘offended’ if they can hear someone pray in public. The Supreme Court is responsible for this new attitude toward religion.

Incredibly, in the legal briefs filed in the Cantwell case with the Supreme Court, neither party asked the First Amendment to be applied to the states. The Supreme Court did this on their own initiative. This is another reason Cantwell is an important example of judicial activism.

Is there any doubt that Cantwell was a major turning point in American history? Just think how free Americans would be if the Supreme Court had not reversed the Framers of our Constitution? Right now only nine unelected judges have power over religion law– a power never given to them by the Constitution.

I support what the Framers of our Constitution intended for America. I support their view that power for religious freedom should be shared with all the American people. It’s time to end the discrimination against religious speech in the United States begun by the Supreme Court.

A note from the author:  Watch for my latest book due out in 2018, The Separation of Church and State for Beginners available at

Note 1. Half of U.S. Sees ‘Judicial Activism Crisis’ by Martha

Neil. To read the ABA poll visit:

Note 2. Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940).

Note 3. Abington v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 at 215 (1963).

Note 4. Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980).

David W. New is an attorney in Washington, D.C. He graduated

from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1989.





1-26-18: 215 Million Reasons to Take Islam Seriously

Sam Rohrer:                

Well have you ever been maligned or made fun of perhaps? Perhaps ridiculed by a classmate or a fellow worker or maybe embarrassed by a teacher because of something that you said or because of something that you believe? Well, if you have, and my guess is most of you listening to me right now have had one or more of those things happen to you in your lifetime. But, if I were to ask you, “Have you ever been beaten, thrown into jail, or publicly humiliated at the hands of government officials because of your faith in Jesus Christ,” likely very few listening to me right now have ever experienced that. If you have, then you may have in fact suffered biblical persecution. Today around the world there’s more persecution of people because of their faith in Jesus Christ than in the entire history of the world, or so that’s what the numbers are saying.

Yet, sadly, very few people know about it. So today on this program, we’re going to focus on Christian persecution. Our general theme is going to be this: slow motion holocaust, Christian persecution around the world. And we’re going to define what it is and what it’s not. We’re going to define and show where it’s happening, who’s primarily doing it, and why. And then we’re going to conclude at the end of the program with what we can do about it.

And with that I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap Today, I’m Sam Rohrer, host of Stand in the Gap Today and I’m going to be joined today by my co-host, Dr. Gary Dull, Senior Pastor of Faith Baptist Church of Altoona, Pennsylvania, and Gary’s also the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Pastor’s Network. Our special and first time guest to Stand in the Gap Today will be Dave Bailey, he’s an educational consultant, he’s an author of two books. One of them is Dare to Speak: Islam vs Free Democracy and Free Enterprise, which was published in 2006, and the most recent one, 2013 book entitled Shock and Alarm: What it was really like at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

So as we move now into this topic today, ladies and gentleman, I’d like to define persecution first of all, in a general sense, okay? Now here’s the definition, and I pulled this from Websters 1829 dictionary, frankly where I like to go for definitions of words. They seem to be more accurate to the original. But the definition here of persecution is this: it’s the infliction of pain, punishment or death upon others, and keyword, unjustly. Particularly for adhering to a religious creed or mode of worship, either by way of penalty or by compelling them to renounce their principles. All right? So infliction of pain, punishment, death, unjustly doing so, generally because of something that they believe.

Now, Gary, you heard the definition I just gave there, it’s in a general sense, but I want to zero in on Christian persecution as we go in the program today. And I’m gonna want you to define what biblical persecution, what it is. But, before you do that, let me just read down through a couple of things of what biblical persecution is not. So, ladies and gentleman, I’m going to give you just a few things here, but this is not Christian persecution.

For instance, a personal controversy with someone. Persecution, true, Christian persecution is not someone just making fun of you. It’s not an economic downturn or being caught out of work like the Great Depression. That was not persecution. Persecution is not necessarily war. The War for Independence, the Civil War, or World Wars I and II, were not primarily persecution even though all of them were marked with extensive death and suffering. Persecution is not something you get for doing wrong, such as being sent to jail for repeatedly refusing to pay your taxes. And persecution is not God’s corrective discipline for personal disobedience or the result of biblical principle of reaping and sowing. In other words, if you just do the wrong things, and make wrong choices all the time, bad things will happen to you, that’s not persecution either.

All right, now. Gary, let me go back to you, with those kind of things out of it, what it’s not, build out if you would just a little bit, what the Bible defines as true biblical, we say, Christian persecution, read it as defined by the Bible. Could you do that please?

Gary Dull:

Well Sam, I’m glad you went down through that list of what it is not because down through the years I’ve heard people say, “I’m being persecuted for Christ,” and they don’t really know what persecution for Christ is all about. That was very excellent that you elaborated upon that. You know the Bible tells us that persecution is something that we can expect in Second Timothy 3 in verse 12 it says, “Yea, and all that live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” And over in First Peter, chapter 2 in verse 21 it tells us that persecution is something that we are called unto. In fact, I would encourage every one of you who are listeners today to read through First Peter, because First Peter has a lot to say about persecution.

But biblical persecution, or persecution for Christ, is action that is designed to intimidate, physically harm, or kill people because of Christ. And the key component there is because of Jesus Christ. In other words, persecution is a result of doing what Christ commands us to do and living as Christ commands us to live. It’s the result of refusing to bow down to the God of government or culture and it’s the result of refusing to renounce the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the name above all names. And I’ve often said to my congregation, Sam, if somebody would walk up to you with a 12-gauge shotgun and say, “Denounce Christ or die,” what would you do? And of course, you know, if you did not denounce Christ and get shot, obviously, that’s persecution.

But this is real. And there are many nations of the world where persecution is going on today. And I would encourage people, before I turn it back to you, if you get the opportunity ladies and gentleman, to get Richard Wurmbrand’s book entitled, Tortured for Christ, do so. It will be a great challenge to you and it will help you to understand what this concept of being persecuted for Jesus Christ is all about. Sam.

Sam Rohrer:

Gary, we have just about half a minute before we go to the break, let me just ask you, do you think that you have ever really experienced biblical Christian persecution?

Gary Dull:

Well, that’s a very good question, Sam. I mean, you know, maybe been mocked, been laughed at, our church has been picketed because there’s certain stands we’ve taken upon the Gospel that maybe in a little sense that’s persecution, but it’s nothing like many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are going through in the world around us today.

Sam Rohrer:  

And Gary, it’s not surprising me that you answered it that way because if you would have asked me the same question, I would have said exactly what you said. But ladies and gentleman, that probably is what, as I said at the start of the program, very few will have actually experienced in this country, true infliction of pain or punishment because of our faith in Jesus Christ. However, that’s not the case for much of the world.

Our general theme for today, is slow motion holocaust, Christian persecution around the world. We just dealt with the issue of what Christian persecution is not and what it is. But next question is, where is this happening? Well the very sad fact is that persecution, and specifically Christian persecution in particular, has risen its ugly head around the world in ways not seen before. Over the centuries since the days of Nero and the Christians in the Colosseum to the days of Stalin and Hitler and the current days of ISIS, Christians have been persecuted and martyred for their faith all around the world.

In this segment I want to identify where persecution is happening today. And to help us walk through this subject will be our special guest, Dave Bailey. He’s an educational consultant and he’s an author. His most recent book was entitled Shock and Alarm: What it was really like at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. And with that today, Bailey, I’d like to welcome you to the program. Thank you for being with us today.

Dave Bailey:

Thank you.

Sam Rohrer:   

So let me go right off here to the first obvious question, Dave, and that is this, how bad is Christian persecution around the world today? And how does the frequency and the extent of Christian persecution today compare to what we know from years past? Can you walk into that with us please?

Dave Bailey:

It is remarkable today. According to Open Doors U.S.A., which is a tremendous resource, I recommend to anyone, they claim that 215,000,000 Christians are living under persecution today. And while the worst of the countries for Christians to live in is North Korea, North Korea is really sort of an isolated case. It’s not like North Korea is trying to spread its ideology around the world or anything like that. After that, the line goes down to Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, let’s see what else we have here, we have Iran, India, Saudi Arabia, Rabia, Maldives, Nigeria, Syria, Uzbekistan, and the key point here is what you’ll see is Islam is the common theme to all of these. With the possible exception of Eritrea, which even though has a large Muslim population, is just in sort of dictatorial chaos. So it’s a little hard to pin it strictly on Islam. But the key point here is that there is a single ideology driving this persecution in every other one of these countries outside of North Korea.

Gary Dull:

You know it’s a delight to have you with us, Dave, and it’s amazing to see how this persecution is going on around the world and many people simply are not aware of it and I appreciate you mentioning some of these nations where persecution among Christians is the greatest but are you familiar with Voice of the Martyrs?

Dave Bailey:

Oh yes. Fantastic organization and it’s founder, Mr. Wurmbrand, tremendous man with a tremendous story and what he endured was just incredible.

Gary Dull:

Absolutely. And as I mentioned in the first segment, his book Tortured for Christ is a great book for people to read. But recently the Voice of the Martyrs put out a map, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it or not, but they highlighted some of the nations of the world that are hostile towards Christianity and other nations of the world where Christianity is restricted. And I am wondering if you would not mind from your understanding of those two terms as it relates to persecution, explain to our audience what it means in talking about persecution, what is a restricted nation and what is a nation where Christianity is hostile? There’s hostility towards it.

Dave Bailey:

Yeah, that’s a very important thing to understand. A hostile nation means that Christians are being persecuted more like on an individual basis, that is either through chaos or just a predominance of hostility towards Christians. Individuals feel like they can feel free to attack Christians with impunity. Whereas with restricted nations, it is policy of the government itself, that is the government itself is restricting Christianity from a legal perspective. Either making it illegal, making it illegal to build churches, having laws that do things like provide a death penalty imprisonment for conversion to Christianity from another religion. And that primarily happens with Islamic nations.

Sam Rohrer: 

Dave, let me pick up on that a little bit more. I’m looking at another map. Gary was talking about he was looking at one map there. I’m looking at another map, Open Doors, which you have already sited, Ladies and gentleman you can go to that site and you can see what we’re talking about. I encourage you to do that, but on the map I’m looking at there, they’ve actually taken the whole world and laid it out there on a flat map, and they’ve identified the countries of the world in three different colors. One of them in yellow, the way they have it, is it designates high persecution. Tan color is very high persecution and then orange is designating extreme persecution.

And if I count this right, there are ten on that list that they have that are designated as extreme. And I believe that you did identify those countries at least in the list that you just went over. But as I compare this extreme persecution here as they have laid it out, you and I, and we’ve made the theme this program, we used the word holocaust, slow motion holocaust. When you look at that combined with all the things that you know, and we’re talking about now, why do you believe that that designation, slow motion holocaust is an accurate designation? Is that really what we’re witnessing?

Dave Bailey: 

Yes, it is. And it operates in different phases depending on the conditions on the ground, okay? For example, Afghanistan’s listed by Open Doors as the number two worst place for Christian persecution and a few years ago I remember reading an article where Afghanistan was celebrating the demolition of it’s last church. Now, the point there is, that in Afghanistan the persecution has basically come to it’s full conclusion. All the churches have now been wiped out and the Muslims there are very happy about it. They celebrate, okay?

And back in 2006 time-frame I remember there was a story about a man who converted to Christianity and it was discovered by his wife because he was found to have a Bible next to his bed, and for that he was imprisoned and was facing the death penalty and fortunately, I believe Italy intervened and the government of Afghanistan very neatly declared him to be mentally insane and exiled him off to Italy and that’s how his life was preserved. But that’s how complete the persecution is there. And the key point here is it’s not like the Islamist seek dominance and once they have established dominance they’re gonna let people go, take it easy. They are not satisfied until all other religions are completely extinguished, and they see Christianity as actually their number one rival, okay?

So it operates in phases and it does not let up. It just gets worse, okay? And the key thing to understand with that, is there’s Sharia law and if you see these countries sort of operating in similar ways, it’s because they are all following variations of Sharia Law, which may differ from one place to another, but fundamentally with regard to people of other faith like Christians, the treatment is the same and it just tightens the noose as control increases.

Sam Rohrer: 

Okay. Now I’m gonna jump in here again, I got Gary, I know you got a question. Hold it, if you can, just a minute. The next segment we’re gonna go more into the who and the why of what you’re talking about there.

Dave Bailey:  


Sam Rohrer:

But on that map, it’s interesting. I do not see China, really listed on that map. Yet, at least it’s not one of the extreme ones but I’m also looking at an article here today that just came out today that was passed along to me. The title of it is 215,000,000 Christians persecuted, says mostly by Muslims, but it goes into and it talks about an example here in China, where China just very recently actually went in and burned a building, a church, where 50,000, it was a registered church but they burned it to the ground because it was getting too big.

And then this morning I heard on the news, a different news broadcast, saying that the Chinese government had moved into churches as they had them, known them, or as they were underground, that had identified them, and were ordering people to give back their ties, actually the church to give back the ties of the constituents because it was illegal. Now, China is neither Muslim nor is it North Korea. How do you classify China?

Dave Bailey:

China is moving kind of in the right direction. They at one time were, I would say, every bit as persecutorial towards Christianity as North Korea was. The key difference is they’ve slowly been convinced that maybe Christianity isn’t as much of a threat to their power as they once thought. But the key thing is they are always obsessed with their own power and anything that they see as a threat to their power they will seek to crush. And so this is largely a way of asserting their power over the church and that’s what they want to maintain.

Sam Rohrer: 

But in reality, Dave, and Gary, that is persecution to some extent but slightly different, but still the same. Ladies and gentleman, we’re talking about persecution today. Slow motion holocaust, Christian persecution around the world. It’s bigger than ever. It’s in countries all around the world as we move into this next segment, we’ve defined Christian persecution, what it is and what it’s not, important to start there with the definition. Secondly, we’ve identified in the last segment, where it is happening and it’s happening, really, across the world but if you take a look at a big map, laid out and stretched out where you have the entire world flat before you like you see in some of the maps, the heaviest concentration is in the Middle East and it runs all through the Middle East and over into Pakistan and then over China and North Korea. But the biggest bulk is in North Africa and the Middle East. If you could think about that, that’s where most is happening.

But in this segment we want to talk about who’s doing it? Who is inflicting persecution on Christians and why? Now we talked about it just a little bit in this last segment but we want to bear down with it a bit more here. In the study of Christian persecution there are certain drivers, put it in that perspective. Perhaps the very worst, in my opinion, is government. When government gets involved in working against its citizens, it becomes, in my opinion, and I think as most would analyze persecution, become pretty extreme because government has the power to imprison you, to kill you and to bring a lot of factors to bear that are perhaps worse than other drivers. But, in other cases and places like that, about the only thing that can stop a government, once it’s engaged in persecuting people, about the only thing that can stop that is some other government from the outside coming in and waging war against them to defeat them. Kind of like what happened with Hitler and Stalin in wars past.

But there are other drivers of persecution as well. These are societal factors. They’re religious and non-religious leaders, they can inflict persecution. Extended family, organized crime cartels and a host of others that we would put under the broader category of society. So you have government, then you have society. But, to me, Gary and Dave, as I am thinking about this, to me it seems like the worst all of persecutors are when you combine the sanction of religious authority with the power of government to actually bring all powers to bear and throw you in jail or to kill you. When these come together, it seems that that’s when, for now according to the map at Open Doors U.S.A., when things become extreme, extreme persecution, it seems like they’re committed or they’re combined.

So with that, I want to welcome back into the program Dave Bailey, Dave is an education consultant, author of Shock and Alarm: What it was really like at the U.S. Embassy, he’s a member of Gideons International as well. He does a lot of different things, a lot of writing and so forth, but Dave, I wanna bring you back in right now and just ask you, from your research who are the major drivers of persecution, Christian persecution today around the world. Governments, religious entities, perhaps syndicated crime entities, and you can give me your comment as well at what I just said about the combining of religious and civil authority is perhaps the worst driver, but give me thoughts on this as you analyze the whole world, basically, and what’s happening here in the area of Christian persecution.

Dave Bailey: 

Well thank you. In another era, I would have said communism, okay? Invariably it is a political ideology. It’s just communism has sort of lost its luster and people who hate Christianity or whatever, have kind of moved on to a large degree. The new political ideology that has risen up as the great persecutor of Christianity is Sharia Law, which is associated with Islam. And the reason why I say Sharia Law, is that is not necessarily governmental, it transcends government individual Islamist, okay? Now that isn’t necessarily any old Muslim, I mean what I’ve seen is there are two kinds of Muslims. There are devout Muslims, those are ones who really follow Sharia Law, take it very seriously. And then there’s the Muslims who don’t want to be killed by devout Muslims, so they’re just as much terrorized by the devout Muslims as anybody else is. So it’s an important distinction to keep in mind.

But the key thing is Islam empowers individual Muslims to enforce Sharia Law, personally, whether or not there is a government doing it. And that’s very important to understand. Because, just because you don’t have a government enforcing Sharia, doesn’t mean that you are not going to be affected by Sharia. And that is what I would call the greatest threat that we are facing today and to the extent that Sharia has power, the greater the power the more of the threat there is. If there’s any power at all, it is somewhat of a threat to you. That’s why here even in the United States, we are affected by terrorism.

We talked about, you know, are we being persecuted. Well, I don’t know about you, but our church has started a new policy where we’re locking the doors once the church service starts and we have somebody keeping an eye out for somebody deciding to come out and attack our church. Now we haven’t been affected directly ourselves, but because of terrorism elsewhere, this is what terrorism does. The whole point of terrorism is to make an example, essentially, of someone so everybody else has to watch out, has to tow the line, has to keep quiet and not do anything that will turn the sights onto them. So, we are affected by terrorism. If your church is now keeping guard, shutting the doors, locking the doors, changing their behaviors, you are affected by terrorism.

Gary Dull:  

You know, that’s very interesting, Dave, that you bring that out because I Pastor a church here in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and for several years we’ve had a security team but recently we have just hired a professional security force to guard us while we are in church for a long time we’ve locked our doors when people get in. And it’s unfortunate that you’ve got to do that, but you do have to do that today. But you know, just something that I want to make as an observation and then perhaps you can comment on it. I’m going to be going to India, I’ll be there three weeks from today as a matter of fact. And when I applied for my visa, they wanted me to sign a paper that said I would not preach or do anything religious in the country. Which means that the, you know, I couldn’t, if you want to push it, I couldn’t pray, I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t whatever in the name of the Lord.

And a Mission that I developed a number of years ago, well we have missionaries there in India, and one of the things that I have learned from our missionaries there is that even though Islam is recognized perhaps as the number one persecutors of Christians in many areas, in India, Dave, Hinduism is starting to persecute Christians. And what they are doing there is that they are attempting, that is the Hindu religion, is attempting to get the government to stand with them to persecute Christians so there again, you would see the coming together of a religious entity as well as a governmental entity. Most people don’t think that Hindus persecute. But in some portions of the world, they’re doing that from what I understand. Your thoughts?

Dave Bailey:    

Well, that’s an excellent point and I’m glad you brought it up. There’s a fundamental difference. Now what you’re saying is absolutely true. I’ve been reading about it myself, but there is a fundamental difference. And the fundamental difference is Hinduism is not a proselytizing faith in the way that either Christianity or Islam is. The reason you’re seeing that persecution is motivated by defensive thinking. That is, Hinduism in fact, is on a relative decline whereas other religions are increasing, Hinduism is kind of holding steady or declining, going down. And they’re feeling that. They feel threatened. So it’s a response to feeling threatened. When Christians are proselytizing in India, what that does is they’re actually proselytizing most of the people at the bottom of the caste system, because they have something to offer those people that the Hindu caste system does not offer. And that’s attracting them and that’s upsetting the whole social order over there and that’s what’s driving it, okay? And so it’s not like the persecution of Christians by Hindus is going to start happening here in the United States with Hindus who are coming over from India, it’s localized to that particular area where Hindus are feeling like they have to defend their faith from the infiltration.

Sam Rohrer:  

As we move now into our final segment here, we’ve tried to undertake, really ladies and gentleman, in a very surface way. Because we could spend hours and hours on this matter of Christian persecution. We tried to define what it is and what it’s not, where it’s taking place, and who primarily is the instigator. Now, we’ve mentioned that when it comes to the who, that the worst offender now, is the Islamic ideology and is what our guest Dave Bailey just said in the last segment, that what makes Islamic ideology so critical in this matter is that they as a religion, as the religion component political system, they are bent on dominating the world. So there is a great zealousness behind what they’re doing. And because of Sharia Law concept it empowers the individual to take power or action into their own hands.

Now there are some governments in the Middle East, some of the worst offenders are Pakistan and Somalia and Sudan, these are Muslim nations by and large, but it is the combining with the empowering of the individual, that’s an interesting point we want to bring out here. But the reality of it is that Christian persecution is undeniable. It is on the increase. There are more being persecuted now than, as far as we can let tell by looking back than has ever happened. The drivers of persecution though, regardless of the circumstance will always surface where the citizens or the nation’s leaders deny the God of the Bible. They deny the person of Jesus Christ and they embrace the lie that says that man can become God. At that point then things began to really unwind.

So whether the ideology is Emperor worship with Nero, communism with Stalin, or Nazism with Hitler, or Islam with Muhammad, or Hinduism we’re talking about, any of these, the question is, “What can we do about it as Christian persecution is increasing around the world?” And Gary, I want to go to you first, from your perspective here, you just said you’re going to be going to China, you’ve already suffered a little bit because they basically said, “We won’t let you into our country unless you promise not to speak about Christ,” that’s an amazing thing, Gary. So it’s happening in a lot of ways but persecution, you said earlier, shouldn’t come as a surprise for those who truly live Godly, but build that out just a little bit about the reality of persecution, just so we know, that regardless of where we are, what country we may find ourself in, that point that Christ made, is eternally true.

Gary Dull: 

Well, it is, and of course I’m actually going to India, not China this time.

Sam Rohrer:

Did I, I got that wrong, India, yes sir.

Gary Dull:

But it’s the same neck of the woods, I guess, but yeah, I am doing that. But you know, you talk about Second Timothy 3, in verse 12 that says, that we can expect persecution to a certain degree. But I also think of First Peter and I would encourage every one of you who are listening today to do some studying in First Peter, because it’s dedicated to preparing us, equipping us for suffering. And in First Peter chapter 4 in verse 12, it says, “Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice in as much as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. That when his glory shall be revealed, yea may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Then he says, “If yea be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are yea.” And then of course it goes on so you see, that goes back to what our definition of persecution is.

Being persecuted for the cause of Christ. Not for something we might do, necessarily, that would be wrong, but being persecuted or reproached because the fact that we are standing for Jesus Christ. So in reality I think that throughout the pages of scripture, Sam, you can see that persecution should not come as a surprise even though it is true that we here in the United States of America, don’t face persecution to any degree compared to many other countries of the world do.

Sam Rohrer: 

And Gary, you did not say it, but I’m gonna just put in, ladies and gentleman, we should therefore pray for those. We may not be able to help directly, but we can pray for those. But we can also, there are entities, Open Doors U.S.A. and others are entities that help them. There are other groups and us bringing these things to attention are a part of what we can do. Dave, let me go to you right now because the fact that persecution clearly something that’s clear, we know that, but as I said earlier, when governments get involved in actually persecuting their people, about the only thing that can stop that are other governments and to a large extent, the U.S. government has probably had as much to do with stopping persecution in countries that have persecuted their people more than anybody perhaps in time.

And just two days ago, Sam Brownback, Governor Sam Brownback was approved, just narrowly, by the U.S. Senate to become the first Ambassador at large for religious liberty. I think this is one of his issues as well, but speak a little bit Dave, as to what governments can do, what our government through policy can do to help limit and stop the degree of Christian persecution we’re seeing around the world.

Dave Bailey: 

I thank you. The first thing I would say is remember we live in a democracy. And so if we expect our government to take the right actions, we ourselves have to be educated. So my recommendation to everyone is take the time to understand Islam. Even if it’s just a little bit, even if it’s in bits and chunks, don’t avoid the subject. I think one of our great problems in this country is people know it’s an unpleasant subject and they just avoid it like the plague. But that self-imposed ignorance basically makes it impossible for our leaders to make the right decisions because we’re either electing the wrong people to lead us or we’re not holding them to our principles. Because we’re not even aware that those principles are under threat.

With that in mind I have a newsletter called Islam Update, and if you contact this station say you’d like to subscribe to it, just do that and word will get back to me and I will provide that with you. And it’s simply current events throughout the world with regard to Islam and you can just see it in yourself from news reports. Not from me, from reports from the news and you can form your own conclusions. The other thing we can do as far as our leaders are concerned is beware of entanglements. We keep trying to turn Islam into something that it isn’t.

And that case that I brought up about Afghanistan in 2006, the most significant thing about that guy who was caught converting to Christianity and was put on trial for his life and was ready to be killed, but through last minute actions he was declared insane and sent off to Italy, the key thing to keep in mind is that all took place under a government that we helped establish. Now how the heck does that happen? The other part of it is the practical extermination of Christianity in the Middle East, largely in Iraq, that didn’t start with ISIS. That started when we came in and took over Iraq and the key point there is trying to set up democratic institutions doesn’t solve the problem if fundamentally you have a people that want to be governed by Sharia Law. You just get a democratic version of Sharia Law, which essentially is what we have in Iran, okay? And so that is so important.

Recorded APN Conference Call with George Barna on Feb. 6, 2018

On February 6, 2018, author, speaker and social science researcher George Barna joined the American Pastors Network for a pastors conference call on the topic of “The State of the Church”. Barna presented research from the American Culture and Faith Institute on the latest findings across the nation on topics of faith,  morality, biblical worldview, politics and more.

Christian Persecution—A Slow-Motion Holocaust

A crucial global problem is that millions of Christians are being persecuted around the world, yet the news rarely makes headlines.

That issue was somewhat alleviated, at least temporarily, with the coverage of the recent World Watch List from Open Doors USA, which annually ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. The top five, with “extreme persecution,” include North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan.

The American Pastors Network  recently discussed this important topic on its daily, live, one-hour radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” heard on more than 425 stations nationwide—namely, what Christians can do about these attacks on their brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Some Christians may have been ridiculed by a classmate, maligned by a co-worker or embarrassed by a teacher for their beliefs,” said APN president Sam Rohrer. “But few of us in America have been beaten, thrown into jail or publicly humiliated at the hands of government officials because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Today, around the world, there is more persecution of people because of their faith in Jesus than in the entire history of the world. Yet, sadly, few people know about it. It’s time for Christians who enjoy their religious freedom to stand for those who are persecuted to both create awareness and take action.”

Recently on “Stand in the Gap Today,” Rohrer, his co-hosts and guests have defined persecution, discussed where it’s happening, identified who is perpetrating it and considered what other believers can do in response. Officially, Rohrer said, persecution is defined as the “the infliction of pain, punishment or death upon others unjustly, particularly for adhering to a religious creed or mode of worship, either by way of penalty or for compelling them to renounce their principles.”

“The very sad fact is that persecution in general and Christian persecution in particular has risen its ugly head around the world,” Rohrer added. “Yet very little news of this ever reaches the people. Over the centuries since the days of Nero and the Christians in the Coliseum, to the era of Stalin and Hitler, to the current days of ISIS, Christians have been persecuted and martyred for their faith. We can compare this to a modern-day, slow-moving genocide, with 255 Christians killed worldwide every month, according to Open Doors.”

Additionally, Open Doors shares, 104 Christians are abducted; 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage; 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial; and 66 churches are attacked—every month.

“Persecution, while it is observable, serious and growing, is sometimes difficult to ascertain the cause,” Rohrer said on the program. “In the study of Christian persecution, there are certain key drivers. Perhaps the very worst is government because it has the power to imprison and kill and could be the very worst type of driver because there is no one to help in such cases, other than another government stepping in.

“But, there are other drivers of persecution: ethnic group leaders, religious and non-religious leaders at various levels, extended family, organized crime cartels and a host of others that would fall in the broader category of ‘society,’” Rohrer continued. “Yet, I would submit that the worst of all persecutors are those who blend the religious and the governmental through Islam and sharia law.”

Ultimately, Christians who are free to worship as they please must be the ones to come to the aid of their fellow believers, Rohrer said, whether by prayer, raising awareness or urging U.S. government intervention.

Rohrer also shared these concepts on the show:

  • Christians shouldn’t hope for persecution, but should expect it.
  • Christians can be confident because no persecution can separate believers from the love of God.
  • Christians should have the attitude and pre-determined conviction of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
  • Persecution is a result of living as Christ commands, refusing to bow down to the god of government or culture, and refusing to renounce the name of Jesus Christ.
  • Christians must awaken to the reality of the times regarding persecution.

Listen to these audio clips on Christian persecution from “Stand in the Gap Today:”

To listen to the entire program, click HERE.

Photo by Simeon Muller on Unsplash