Christian Persecution: A Reality Too Close to Ignore

PHILADELPHIA—The subject of Christian persecution has taken on a renewed focus for the American Pastors Network  in 2018, as APN leaders regularly address this global problem through its radio ministry “Stand in the Gap Today.”

APN President and “Stand in the Gap Today” host Sam Rohrer has written a new commentary for The Christian Post titled, “Christian Persecution: A Reality Too Close to Ignore.”

“Violent persecution of Christians around the world has risen to all-time highs,” Rohrer writes. “Murders, beheadings, rapes, imprisonments and evil of all types are increasingly befalling Christians. This ugly reality demands a response. While Christian persecution is nothing new, today it comes in various forms and for various reasons.

“How shall American Christians respond when their spiritual brethren are suffering persecution?” he continues. “The choices are only two: ignore it or responsibly respond to it. Ignoring anti-Christian violence is convenient and painless, but it is also anti-biblical. Turning from it may temporarily relieve our uneasiness and numb our sense of moral obligation, but we only fool ourselves. Willful ignorance of evil is fatal because it provides an illusory sense of peace. Ignoring evil cannot stop it, especially when it is aggressively on the march like it is today.”

It’s time for Christians, churches and pastors to wake up, Rohrer added. While persecution of Christians spreads like a virulent global cancer, fellow believers must ask: How far has it metastasized? Where is it happening, and what drives it?

According to trustworthy organizations like Open Doors USA and The Voice of the Martyrs, there is more persecution of Christians today than at any other time in history. On average, 255 Christians are murdered, 104 are abducted, 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage, 66 churches are attacked, and 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned each month without trial because of their faith. These numbers represent only what is known. And according to the U. S. State Department, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or their neighbors because of their personal faith in Jesus Christ.

American Pastors Network Leader Sam Rohrer: As China Pushes Toward Despotic One-Man Rule, World Should Be Shocked Into Reality That Freedom Is Not Default Position in Atheistic and God-Rejecting Nations

The American democratic process, while perhaps imperfect, ultimately gives the people the power to elect their leaders for limited terms, which allows for growth, fresh turnover and the ongoing exchange of ideas.

But in China, the process looks much different, and the American Pastors Network (APN) recently discussed China, the security threat and its position to control the world on a recent “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program, which is a ministry of APN.

On a program last week, titled “The China Security Threat: Positioning to Control the World,” APN President and “Stand in the Gap Today” host Sam Rohrer explored how President Donald Trump andVice President Mike Pence have been directly involved in China’s politics, especially as the president has announced plans for new tariffs that could change the way the U.S. and China do business together.

“While the U.S. elects leaders for two, four or six years,” Rohrer said on the show, “quietly but with enormously scary potential is China, whose parliament voted to give lifetime ruling power to Xi Jinping. May we submit: president for life, king for life or, even more likely, dictator for life? President Trump, in his comments surrounding the need to rebuild the U.S. military and his decision to impose stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, has cited security and China’s global ambitions as some of the biggest threats to America.

“Namely, China, the largest nation in the world, has just pushed itself from moving toward democratic rule to despotic one-man rule,” Rohrer added. “The world should be horrified and shocked back into reality that freedom is not the default position in life and certainly not in atheistic and God-rejecting nations. It is this action, when combined with other major efforts to control the world, that should cause us all to sit up and pay attention to China’s efforts to control the skies and seas in its quest to control the world.”

Listen to these clips from “Stand in the Gap Today” regarding “The China Security Threat: Positioning to Control the World:”

Photo by Arol Viñolas on Unsplash

American Pastors Network’s Four-Step Approach for Knowing Where to Stand on Cultural Issues

Between 24/7 headlines and social media, news travels faster than ever before. Christians are much more aware of cultural and societal issues—even compared to a decade ago—because of the way information flows freely and rapidly.

Today, believers find themselves engaged in debates concerning gun control, religious liberties, abortion, the economy, immigration and threats to America, just to name a few—oftentimes even if they don’t want to be.

The mission of the American Pastors Network’s (APN) radio ministry, “Stand in the Gap Today,” is to equip listeners with how to think about and respond to all these issues both biblically and constitutionally.

Now, APN and “Stand in the Gap” are offering a checklist of sorts so Christians can consider almost any issue of freedom by asking four questions.

“Recently on ‘Stand in the Gap Today,’ we’ve been discussing gun control from this framework, in light of the tragic shooting that took 17 lives at a Florida school,” said APN President and radio host Sam Rohrer. “But in actuality, nearly any issue of freedom can be considered from the basic principles upon which our representative republic sits. If these considerations are not made, we will begin to lose our civil freedom, and it will not return. Decisions regarding freedom and liberty must be linked to eternal moral principles, linked to history and linked to reality.”

To help Christians consider these issues from the viewpoint of what the Bible says, what the Constitution permits, what freedom requires and what justice demands, APN has created an infographic titled “Knowing Where to Stand on Today’s Toughest Issues: A Dynamic 4-Step Approach to Evaluating Today’s Most Challenging Issues:”

  1. What does the Bible say? If God explicitly says it, we obey (Deuteronomy 30:15-19). If God is not explicit, we apply biblical principles. Example: God made mankind in His image and, therefore, all life is sacred. He mandates: Thou shalt not murder. This is explicit. Human life is sacred; therefore, abortion, euthanasia and other forms of murder violate God’s law. Self-defense and protection of life is a logical extension into the issue of weapons and defense of innocent life.
  2. What does the Constitution permit? The Constitution complements the Bible, not vice versa. Established laws must conform to the Constitution that recognizes God created rights. Example: Self-defense is biblical and a natural right; therefore, the Second Amendment recognizes and guarantees this right.
  3. What does freedom require? The end result of accepting biblical truth is freedom. Freedom is the result but also the goal. The Declaration of Independence recognizes this right and the Constitution guarantees it: our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Government’s duty is to preserve these rights. Example: The Second Amendment, and protection of innocent lives of citizens and their property, is inherent with the immigration reform debate.
  4. What does justice demand? The primary purpose of government is to enact justice—to punish the evil doer and reward those who do good. The administration of justice must conform to biblical principles and constitutional law. Example: Undermining the Second Amendment, or other rights by legislative action or by judicial activism, violates the very concept of enacting justice and fulfilling the primary purpose of government and constitutional law. 

“I believe this framework and roadmap will permit any person, whether in office or a private citizen, to come to the right solution regarding a variety of challenging issues,” Rohrer added, “providing that they, in fact, want to come to a conclusion that protects our Constitution and our freedom—that is the hinge pin.”

Listen to the program on gun control where this four-step approach is discussed: “The Parkland Killings and Gun Control: Essential Considerations to Maintain Freedom.”

 

American Pastors Network Explores Israel’s Elusive Peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a warm welcome at the White House yesterday for a meeting with President Donald Trump about the hopes of soon reaching a long-sought Mideast peace agreement.

According to Fox News, “both world leaders try to make international progress amid the strains of domestic investigations into each of their governments.” Trump and Netanyahu have met several times to “discuss a range of issues beyond Israeli-Palestinian peace, with Iran, Syria and now North Korea topping their list.”

The American Pastors Network (APN) has explored the topic of “Israel’s Elusive Peace” through its daily, live radio ministry “Stand in the Gap Today.”

In recent programs, APN President Sam Rohrer, co-hosts and guests have discussed topics such as relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East; economic and natural resources development; and Israel’s internal and external threats.

“The simple reason we must support Israel is because God does,” Rohrer said. “The Jews are His chosen people, and He gave His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would not only bless them but also bless every nation that blesses them and curse every nation that curses them. It was through the Jews that God brought the Messiah. The entire plan of redemption and all of Scripture came to us through the Jews. Throughout history, God has miraculously protected the Jewish people although the nations around them have sought to annihilate them. For these reasons, news from Israel should be extremely critical to Christians, and the importance of Israel to today’s Christian leaders cannot be overstated.”

Listen to the entire program, “Israel: Imminent Threats, Elusive Peace,” from earlier this month, as well as the following clips:

“Additionally, we cannot ignore the biblical significance of standing with God’s chosen people in Israel,” Rohrer continued. “What America does in relationship to the support of Israel is the difference between experiencing God’s blessing or God’s judgment on our nation. Additionally, Israel has long been America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, continues to be the only truly democratic nation in that region and is the only nation in the Middle East that allows true religious freedom.”

Rohrer added that the entire plan of redemption and all of Scripture came to believers through the Jews. God prophesied that He would bring His people back to the land He gave them—the land of Israel.

“He has done this and He is still doing it,” Rohrer added. “Throughout history, God has miraculously protected the Jewish people despite evil efforts to annihilate them. All Christians should desire for America to send the clear message that we will support the State of Israel, because God supports the State of Israel.”

Fox News also noted that the friendly relationship between Netanyahu and Trump is a far cry from the “frosty” reception the leader often received at the Obama White House, with Trump stating, “We have the best relationship right now with Israel that we’ve ever had.” The U.S. president is popular among many Israelis for his support of the nation, as well as his announcement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the impending relocation of the U.S. Embassy there.

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 www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org, 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 Network.com at the orange “Listen Live” button on the right-hand side of the webpage; find a station here.

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

Separation of Church and State— A Grave Misunderstanding

For decades, society has squabbled over the true meaning of “separation of church and state.” Does it mean no prayer in schools? No nativity scenes at government buildings? No Ten Commandments in courtrooms?

The American Pastors Network recently discussed this long-debated topic on its daily, live, one-hour radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” heard on more than 425 stations nationwide.

“We’ve all heard it. You can’t do that. That’s a violation of separation of church and state,” said Dave Kistler, one of the co-hosts of “Stand in the Gap Today.” “From prayer at public school functions to references to the name Jesus in military chaplains’ prayers, if some had their way, they’d end every reference to God, and especially Jesus, claiming that ALL such references are an egregious violation of the ‘separation of church and state’ principle.”

On the program, Kistler, who serves as the president of the North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN, www.ncpastors.net), a state chapter of APN, and co-host Gary Dull, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net), welcomed attorney David New, a legal and constitutional expert and Bible scholar. New is the author of “The Separation of Church and State for Beginners,” in which he explores the principle, where it came from and from it really means.

“Separation of church and state is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied concepts in the nation,” said APN president Sam Rohrer. “This idea has been the root cause of religion, faith and God’s presence being pushed out of our culture—and these actions have had detrimental effects on society.”

New told the radio hosts that conservative Christians make three errors when it comes to the separation of church and state:

  1. That separation of church and state appears in the Constitution (that phrase does not).
  2. That only Thomas Jefferson believed in the separation of church and state. (Jefferson had obvious and overt respect, even affection, for religion, though he is often criticized for being irreligious.)
  3. To think that this separation concept is bad for religious liberty (Jefferson assured Baptists during his time that this “wall of separation” would be positive, not to keep God out of government, but rather to keep government out of the affairs of the church.)

Listen to these audio clips for more on the separation of church and state discussion from “Stand in the Gap Today:”

Photo by Sara Silva on Unsplash

American Pastors Network 2018 Challenge: Be Unwavering in Preaching Whole Counsel of God

For now, the 1954 Johnson Amendment is still law, with a repeal of the measure not included in the most recent tax reform bill. But that should not stop pastors from preaching the whole counsel of God or addressing the most pressing societal topics.

“There is perhaps no more crucial time than the present for pastors to preach fervently on the most crucial issues of the day,” says APN President Sam Rohrer. “Many pastors may not choose to address these tough topics for a variety of reasons—fear of the Johnson Amendment, concerns about creating an uncomfortable environment, even resistance from donors or ministry leaders—but God implores those He has called to ministry to inform His people of every matter that may affect their daily lives and their walks with God. That includes the subjects that are perhaps difficult, unsettling or controversial.

“In 2018,” Rohrer continued, “the American Pastors Network is challenging all pastors not to hold back when it comes to the subject matter God is calling them to address from the pulpit. The people in the pews are looking for guidance from their pastors, and in this dark world, they desperately need the light of Scripture and to know what God’s Word says about ALL things.”

Pastors who want to commit to sound, truth-filled preaching in 2018 can sign onto APN’s “We Will Stand” initiative, which invites America’s pastors to intentionally band together and faithfully stand for biblical truth in the public square, and let their congregations and communities know they, too, can be involved.

Pastors who sign the “We Will Stand—Preach, Pray, Encourage, Engage” pledge will commit to the following:

  • I WILL PREACH PASSIONATELY the whole counsel of God, with a biblical worldview that communicates the priority of the Gospel to a fallen, broken humanity. It means exhorting the saints to apply biblical principles to their own lives, the lives of their family, and the culture of their neighborhood, state, and country.
  • I WILL PRAY FERVENTLY with faith, obedience, discipline, fasting.
  • I WILL ENCOURAGE CONGREGATIONS to be salt and light by engaging the culture with truth, practicing good citizenship and voting informed by sound information and biblical principles.
  • I WILL ENGAGE AS A MINISTER TOGETHER with civic leaders through prayer, encouragement and education on critical issues.

For more about “We Will Stand,” click here.