This transcript is taken from the Stand in the Gap Today program aired on Oct. 31, 2019
Sam Rohrer: Well, when I say the words skeptic or cynic, or doubter and disputer, and then I connect in even the word persecution, what comes to your mind? Well, for most of you listening to me right now on this program, that word is truth, Bible, Christian, post-modern culture. All of those things, plus, more might come to your mind and they’d be appropriate. And you’d be right because in today’s modern culture with absolute truth being rejected, actually by government and others, truth being redefined and Christians and Christian beliefs being increasingly targeted as archaic. And by some, even identified as divisive. In this rejecting culture, identifying things of this flavor also may use the word as uncomfortably restraining about Christianity and truth or divisive, or even worse. And in this climate, Christianity and Christians themselves are under attack. Worldwide. Over 300 million across this world are estimated right now, being actively persecuted for their faith in God.
Sam Rohrer: Well, in today’s program, we’re going to present some very powerful information that will, I believe, inform, inspire and equip you to be more confident in the truth, more convincing in your expression of Christianity. And then also to alert you at the end of the program to the level of persecution around the world so that you can better pray for that persecuted church. Our theme today is this, Christianity, culture and credibility. And with that, I welcome you to stand in the gap today, I’m Sam Rohrer and I’ll be joined today by Dr. Gary Dull and Isaac Crockett. And in segments one and two, special guest, John Dickerson. He’s a respected journalist, he’s an author, he’s a millennial and is a senior pastor. And he’s also the author of a new book entitled, Jesus Skeptic.
Sam Rohrer: And then in segments three and four, we’re going to invite back to this program, Todd Nettleton. He’s the chief of media relations and message integration and also the host of The Voice of the Martyrs national radio program. And we’re going to get the latest from him on Christian persecution worldwide. As we look forward to this coming Sunday, which is set aside and designated as the international day of prayer for the persecuted church. So with that introduction, so we have a roadmap of knowing where we’re going to go, I’d like to walk in right now, John Dickerson. Award winning journalist, he’s the author and lead pastor at Connection Pointe Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. And with that, I’d like to welcome you to the program right now. John, thank you for being with us today.
John Dickerson : Hey, thank you so much for having me.
Sam Rohrer: We’ve got a lot to go over with you and I know your time is tight and our program goes extraordinarily quick. So I want to get right into it. John, you’ve been blessed to have won national journalism awards from such people as Tom Brokaw and Christiane Amanpour of CNN, among others. Tell us just a bit, if you could right now, about your journalism career and how that has perhaps moved you into this area of what I’m going to term, investigating Jesus.
John Dickerson : Yeah, that’s right. God did bless my career as a journalist and, simultaneously, because I was doing investigative reporting, I started attending a seminary, working on a Master’s degree almost as a hobby. And as I was investigating essentially stories, trying to help society and make the world a better place, and learning about Jesus almost as a hobby and something I enjoyed, I ultimately reached a point where I became convinced that Jesus not only existed, but is God and is the best hope for society. And ultimately walked away from my career right after winning some of those really big national awards because I became convinced that Jesus and His teachings, His way of life, are the greatest hope for the nations.
Isaac Crockett: John, your books, this is your fourth book, Jesus Skeptic, have really opened, I think, a lot of eyes for people. I know I’ve sent copies to different friends of them and especially this one, Jesus Skeptic. It is really well written and you can tell that it not only comes from the heart, but from lots of research. But it’s just interesting, you’re talking about being in school when you started researching things. And this has been a long time coming, I guess you could say. But really, you’re not that old of a pastor. I mean, compared to, I’m not going to throw anybody under the bus here, but Sam and Gary, you and I are the younger generation here on the radio today. And we’re, I guess older millennials, but we’re millennials and in your church as well as in your writing, there’s a lot of things that are kind of geared to people our age and younger that they can really take a hold of.
Isaac Crockett: You’ve really seen a need, in our day and age, for apologetics and for just defending truth. And yet, only about two to 3% of our age group, the millennials and Gen Z, really have what could be considered a biblical worldview of God. It’s so far away from being a concept of absolute truth. Why would you, a younger pastor, a younger journalist, end up writing a book about Jesus and skeptics investigating Jesus of all things.
John Dickerson : Yeah, it’s such a great question. And I want to encourage anyone listening with this reality that I was raised in a Christian home, but for a while I was that statistic. Right now, two out of three young people raised in Christian homes are turning away from Christianity. And I would guess most people listening, they either have a child or a grandchild, a niece or a nephew, some loved one who was raised in Christianity, but turned away from it. And that was me for a season. And I remember in that season thinking, “Maybe this Jesus was made up. This whole thing is probably a myth. My parents have been duped.” And now obviously God has brought me full circle after I’ve actually looked at the evidence and now I’ve experienced the power of Jesus in my life. And so Jesus Skeptic, this book, I really wrote it with the hope and the prayer that many parents and grandparents will get this to their kids, their grandkids. Because many are doubting, even though they don’t verbalize it.
John Dickerson : I never walked up to my parents when I was first starting to doubt and said, “Hey, I’ve been thinking maybe Jesus didn’t exist.” But I’m thankful that there were some books along the way. Books like Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell and others, that God used to show me Jesus is a historic figure. We do have writings of his are of the new Testament of his followers that are reliable. And ultimately, my prayer with this Jesus Skeptic book is to meet a young person who either has turned away or is thinking of turning away. And what’s really unique about Jesus Skeptic is there so many images and pictures of these ancient documents, ancient artifacts. So that in a generation where it’s always one person’s opinion versus another, our young people can see the truth for themselves.
Sam Rohrer: And John, we’re going to get more into detail on that. We actually don’t have enough time to go into another question at this point. So ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to move away to the break here in just a moment.
Sam Rohrer: Our theme today is Christianity, culture and credibility. Our special guest, John Dickerson. And we’re actually going to be talking to him more in depth now regarding a new book that he has written entitled Jesus Skeptic. Well, the doubters of truth and skeptics of God as the source of truth and Jesus Christ as the embodiment of truth and the Bible as the written and inspired word of truth, those doubters have existed from creation. We know that. Yet the facts, the history, the proof of the truth, and the authenticity and reality of Jesus as the way and the truth are genuine. And the impacts of the truths of Christianity on the world, on science and education, music and the arts, politics and medicine or literally all of culture is indisputable for those who want to seek the truth. And such is the experience for countless numbers of past skeptics and doubters of Jesus Christ. Well, in this segment, we’ll continue our discussion with John Dickerson about his new book, Jesus Skeptic.
Sam Rohrer: So John, let me come back to you right now. It’s a great title, it’s catchy. We already talked just a little bit about your journey from journalism. Having grown up in a Christian home, but you did not accept it. You pursued and went down the road and your investigation led you to the reality of Jesus Christ. So let me have you state again or go where you want to on this, but I’d like to know, to whom did you really write this book? Who is the intended audience and what is your primary hope for the person who reads this book?
John Dickerson : Yeah, great questions. The intended audience would be the modern day Saul. Saul has become one of my favorite stories. In the book of Acts, chapters six through nine, where Paul the apostle starts off as Saul the skeptic. And God breaks through to him through that moment where Jesus invades as a shining light and says, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” But even before that, Saul was hearing the word of God preached from young Steven. He was seeing the change in Christians lives. And the reality is we live in a culture full of Saul’s who think that Christianity is backwards and prejudiced and bigoted. They don’t understand what it’s actually about. And some of those people grew up in Christian homes, some didn’t. But this Jesus Skeptic book is for all of them. And I encourage anyone listening, whether it’s someone in your family or someone in your workplace or neighborhood who’s just opposed to Christianity, that’s who this book is for.
John Dickerson : Knowing that only God can open their eyes, but that God often uses seeds that we plant of the truth. The truth of God’s word, I’ve woven Jesus’ words all throughout this book, Jesus Skeptic. And my other prayer for this book is for our own young people. We know from Pew Research Center and other national sociology groups that America is becoming less and less Christian. In fact, more and more hostile toward Christianity. And a lot of our young people, often they feel torn between, “Do I be part of this culture that says Christianity is bad? Or do I stick with what I was raised to believe?”
John Dickerson : Jesus Skeptic allows them to see that the choice of following Jesus is actually the choice to make the world a better place. And we show that the people who created universities as we know them, healthcare as we know it, the end of slavery and so many other things were followers of Jesus. And as a journalist, I show all of this with actual images and records so that young people can see for themselves. So that’s my prayer, that God will use this book to reach many modern day Saul’s, and that he’ll use it for many young people, especially middle, high school and college age students to really affirm their faith. And let them know, as a follower of Jesus, I’m part of the greatest movement for social good in human history.
Gary Dull: John, it’s a delight to have you with us and certainly I appreciate the concept of apologetics and what you’re doing there. I think perhaps many of our people will recognize you as being on CBS 60 Minutes, being a co-host on CBS This Morning, and even being, I think you were a part of the CBS election team when they’ve done their specials on elections.
Gary Dull: So it’s a delight to have you with us today and to hear how God has been working in your life and in your ministry. Thank you for all that you’ve done. But you know when one looks at your book, Jesus Skeptic, as well as goes to your website, they will see that you have used many images, and you’ve provided hundreds of images, actually, that anyone can share online. If you would please just share a bit of your vision for a national movement of Christians sharing these evidences that followers of Jesus Christ truly could make the world a better place in which to live.
John Dickerson : Absolutely. And one quick differentiation, one of the reasons on my books I put John S. Dickerson is that the John Dickerson of CBS is a good friend of mine, actually, and also a believer, but not writing the kind of books that I am at this time. But I was a print journalist and did win national awards but wrote rather than being on TV. But John, the other John Dickerson is a good friend.
John Dickerson : And here’s the prayer for this book and for this movement, is that our young people would be able to see these ancient artifacts, as well as writings. Like for example, when we talked about Christians ending slavery, we actually show the biblically based arguments that the abolitionists used. And we show those actual newspapers and writings from the 1800s all the way back to the Quakers and the 1600s. And the reason for that is that when our young people go off to college or when they enter a conversation perhaps in the workplace in their 20s, where they really encounter a skeptic. And the current of anti Christianity is so strong that they will be opposed and there will be educated people who say, “Well you don’t even know, everything you were taught was a lie. You were essentially raised in a cult.”
John Dickerson : I remember being told that. And it shakes the young person and they think, “Well, what if everything wasn’t true?” And that’s why it’s so important, I believe, in my journey, to show them the primary evidence. So that when we tell them things like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were all started by Christians as Bible seminaries, they can actually see those founding charters for themselves in the Jesus Skeptic book. When we tell them that the leaders of the scientific revolution, like Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal and Johannes Kepler we’re all followers of Jesus, they can read their actual journal writings for themselves. When we say that the people who led the charge to end slavery were motivated by the teachings of Jesus, they can read those words for themselves. And that’s just so important because our message is so counter-cultural now, and especially in the next ten, 20, 30 years, what we believe is not only unpopular, but it’s becoming defined as bigoted and backward and prejudice.
John Dickerson : And for our young people to know that Jesus and his followers actually make the world a better place, they need to be able to see these documents, or I believe it’s a great tool. Same with Jesus’ existence. We know well those ancient writers like Josephus and Suetonius and Tacitus who wrote about Jesus. And in the Jesus Skeptic book, I actually show images of their writings and ancient artifacts that show it’s very clear Jesus existed. And so that’s the prayer, that our young people would be solidified in their faith and they’d go forward to follow Jesus boldly.
Isaac Crockett: John, I love those examples. And in the book, when you tie in the imagery of a Keystone species and you talk about a sea otter, if you haven’t read that part of the book, all of you listening, I would really encourage you to get the book to read these things. But one of the things that I think was so shocking, and you’ve already mentioned it, is that you point out that science, that the movers and shakers and what we know as modern science, that they were led to that because of Christianity.
Isaac Crockett: And you said, “The greatest movement for social good, that’s what Christianity is.” And it’s not portrayed that way. And that’s what I love about your book, that it really gives that encouraging part. And I’d love to get me some more on that, but real quickly, how can our listeners get your book? I know for me, it’s been easy to share just from Amazon. You can have it ordered and sent to people’s houses or get the Kindle, electronic version of it. I was just sending out some electronic versions of it today to some friends. But what’s an easy way for our listeners to get ahold of that, of your book, and be able to share it with others even?
John Dickerson : Yeah. It is definitely available at Amazon, at Christianbook.com, any Christian bookstore should be able to order it as well as any Barnes and Noble. Really, any bookstore can get their hands on it. I’d encourage those listening, the audio book has a great narrator. So if you want to get the audio book online or as a CD through Christianaudio.com. The book is a great tool as even when we think about Christmas coming up. If you’ve got any middle school, high school, college age, millennial age loved ones in your life, get them this. It’s a stocking stuffer if nothing else. I know my parents gave me some books like Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands A Verdict and those were the turning point for me intellectually. Only God could open my eyes, but it was that truth that I saw in those books that opened my mind. And that’s the prayer for Jesus Skeptic.
Sam Rohrer: And John, that’s excellent. And you know the reason this book fits so well with what we talk about on this program is that we emphasize the authority of scripture and the power of truth, and God’s truth alone, to transform lives. We don’t have much time left, but you were talking about some of the examples, some of the artifacts and some of the things you included in your book. Could you just pick out one, in the last minute here, one that you think was perhaps most compelling or shares the greatest compelling story, perhaps, if somebody would read your book, they really want to take a look at that one that you might identify?
John Dickerson : Amen. The power of scripture. When we look at the charter document of the American anti-slavery society. This is a society of mostly pastors who came together about 40 years before the Civil War and said, “We will give our fortunes, we will give our freedom, we will give our very lives, everything we have, to end slavery.” And in that charter, there are no less than six scripture quotations right on the front page of that charter. And to me, it’s just one of the dozens of pieces of evidence in this Jesus Skeptic book that show it’s not a matter of opinion that the word of God leads to a free society and a prosperous society. It’s a matter of history and fact.
Sam Rohrer: Boy, that’s what we need, ladies and gentlemen, today, a reset in the American culture, a reset to truth. This book, Jesus Skeptic, go look it up. Get it for a gift, for a child, a grand child, a friend or for yourself.
Sam Rohrer: John Dickerson, thank you for being with us today on the program. What a blessing and we just pray that God takes and uses this to change a lot of hearts. Thanks so much for being with us. All right, ladies and gentlemen, we got a break coming up in just a moment and we are going to welcome in Todd Nettleton of Voice Of The Martyrs.
Sam Rohrer: Well, welcome back to the program. I’m Sam Rohrer. Accompanied today by Gary Dull and Isaac Crockett. Our theme today, Christianity, culture and credibility. We started by talking to pastor and author of a new book entitled Jesus Skeptic. His name is John Dickerson, about the powerful impact of Christianity on the culture and on every area of life. Since the beginning, after creation, and when doubt first came into the world at the fall, Christianity and the truth of God and God’s word has undergone opposition. Yet, in the midst of all of that, the powerful impacts of the biblical principles, when applied, have changed this world for the good. So we’re talking about, in that first segment, about the power of this book, what’s in the book that John has written. How when we look at history and we look at what we find, it has truly changed lives. That’s the power of Christianity.
Sam Rohrer: But while Christianity and biblical truth alone brings peace, we know that as believers, and it brings prosperity and life and liberty to any nation, it’s only those principles of God’s word that does that. The opponents of truth and the rejectors of Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life, and they continue to oppose the truth. Not just to disagree with it, but increasingly, actively oppose it. And as I think back in history, as did the Pharisees and the religious establishment of Jesus Day and the Roman leaders of the political establishment of his day, as they did, so do the globalist and the religious and political establishment of our day. Regardless of what nation you go to, it seems.
Sam Rohrer: Are unable to coexist with Christians and Jews, the opponents of truth always tend to move to aggressive persecution of Christians. That’s the history of the world and that’s what Christ says. Today, we’re told that over 300 million people are being actively persecuted for their faith around the world. So the next two segments we’re going to talk with Todd Nettleton. He’s the host of The Voice Of The Martyrs national radio program, about where persecution is happening. And how even in the midst of that, in some places, truly the gospel is growing. With that, I want to welcome back to the program. Todd Nettleton. Todd, thank you for being with us today.
Todd Nettleton : Well, thank you for having me. It’s always good to be with you.
Sam Rohrer: Well, we’re glad for the work that Voice Of The Martyrs is doing, has done, and with God’s grace, will continue to do.
Sam Rohrer: Todd, I want to talk to you about two nations here as we get going on here, and Isaac and Gary then pose questions to you. But there are two nations that are really standing out perhaps more in the news, in these days, regarding their involvement in persecution. I’d like to get an update from you on them now. One, we’re certainly hearing about China. And with their extensively implemented and integrated almost 24/7 monitoring of their citizens, it’s very disturbing what we are hearing. Can you give us an update from what you know about the Voice Of The Martyrs contacts about China and in China? What’s happening there? What can you tell us?
Todd Nettleton : Well, it is very disturbing. And you mentioned the monitoring of people. Our contacts have told us in China that the Chinese government, their goal by the end of next year is to have 600 million surveillance cameras active in the country. And now if you think about 1.2 billion Chinese people, 600 million is basically one camera for every two people in China. Their goal is to be able to identify and locate anyone on Chinese soil in three seconds. So surveillance cameras, facial recognition software. Think about if you’re a house church and underground church pastor in China, think about if you’re trying to secretly deliver Bibles to Christians in China. You know the government is watching.
Todd Nettleton : Here’s the other side of that coin, though. I had the chance to sit down with a house church pastor in China. We recorded an interview that we aired on Voice Of The Martyrs radio and on our podcast. And I said, “Hey, pastor, you know the government is always watching. How does that make you feel? How does that affect your ministry?” And he said, “We do know the government is watching,” and he said, “What I have told the men in my church is, hey, the government is watching you. Make sure there is not a gap between your testimony on Sunday and the way you live your life the other six days of the week. We want the government to know the gospel is true. And they’re watching us, so we have an opportunity to live out the gospel. We have an opportunity to be an example of how Jesus changes peoples lives and changes peoples hearts. Since they’re watching anyway, let’s use this as an opportunity to witness.”
Todd Nettleton : So, yes, the persecution is harsh. Yes, the surveillance is harsh, but the believers there are saying, “Hey, if the government’s watching anyway, let’s use it as an opportunity.”
Isaac Crockett: That’s incredible. It reminds me of the apostle, Paul, when he was praising the Lord for being bound to these Roman soldiers that he could witness to them 24/7. Now I guess it’s big brother over there doing that. The guest that was on our program just a few minutes ago, John Dickerson, and his book for skeptics, he talks about the fact that the countries that have the most freedom for women and the best human rights, that they are Christian countries founded on Christian principles. And the top 10 worst human rights, he shows they all persecute Christians, which is no surprise to you at Voice Of The Martyrs.
Isaac Crockett: But you talked about China. Can you talk about Iran? That’s another one of those big ones where Christianity, there’s really seems to be a growth of people, like a revival waiting to happen there. But as far as the government goes, they’re trying to crack down and they’re really persecuting Christians. Could you maybe expound upon that for us?
Todd Nettleton : Absolutely.
Todd Nettleton : They are certainly persecuting the church, but they can’t stop it. This is one of the amazing things and, frankly, the government of Iran is nervous about that. They are scared because whatever they do, they can’t stop the growth of the church. One of the most sort of counterintuitive things that I think I’ve ever heard is having Iranian Christians tell me that the greatest Christian missionary in the history of Iran was Ayatollah Khomeini. And we hear that and we say, “Well, wait a minute. He’s the one who led the Islamic revolution. How could he be the greatest Christian missionary?” And they will go on to say, “Well, over the last 40 years since that revolution, our government has told us everything we’re doing is according to Islamic principles. Everything we’re doing is according to the Koran. We are going to run our country exactly how Mohammed would run it if he was still alive.”
Todd Nettleton : 40 years later, the country is broken, the economy is in shambles. There is so much corruption in the government. The drug addiction rate of the people is one of the highest in the world. And the people say, “Well, wait a minute, if this is what 40 years of doing it the Islamic way leads to, then Islam doesn’t work. Look, we’ve got the proof. We can look at our own country and we can see Islam doesn’t work.” So I’ve heard estimates as high as 70% of Iranians have rejected Islam. They would tell you, if they could have a an honest conversation, “Islam doesn’t work, I don’t believe it.”
Todd Nettleton : So the gospel is then going in and finding fertile soil and finding open hearts because they’ve already rejected Islam. They already have a mindset that there is a God, there is one God. And so if you can present Jesus as the son of God, and many times, they have a supernatural encounter with Jesus and they say, “Wow, Jesus is God.” And that fertile soil, that seed just grows and produces fruit. There is so much hunger for the gospel. But as you say, there is persecution. The government’s cracking down. They are particularly focusing on leaders, leaders within house groups, leaders within churches. And they’re facing arrest, they’re facing intense pressure.
Todd Nettleton : And one of the challenges, and this is a point for prayer for the people who are listening, once a person has been arrested, it is very hard for them to get back involved with the church because the other people in the church know, “Hey, this guy got arrested. The government is watching him. If I invite him over to my house for fellowship, if I invite him over to my house, the government’s going to start watching me too.” And so once someone is arrested, there is a real sense of isolation that they experience. And that’s the part of the persecution that we don’t think about. We think about, hey, if you’re out of jail, then your persecution is over. But that’s another part of it and that’s something we can pray about for our Iranian brothers and sisters.
Gary Dull: Indeed, that’s a good prayer. And I appreciate you bringing that up, Todd.
Gary Dull: In a recent podcast of your Voice Of Martyrs radio program, you interviewed Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held in the Turkish prison for many years. And we’re very thankful to Donald Trump and his administration for working to get him released. But according to your interview, Pastor Brunson highlighted the fact that his ability to maintain hope and vision was, in part, inspired by Voice Of The Martyrs. I think that’s great. Can you share this with our listeners please?
Todd Nettleton : Yeah. And I would encourage people, and again, I don’t want to sound like I’m promoting VOM or promoting my own radio show, but I would encourage people to listen to this conversation because Pastor Andrew Brunson is very honest about how difficult those two years in prison were, about how much it challenged his faith. And even at one point, he thought he was losing his mind. He was worried that he was going insane because of the pressure and because of the stress. But one of the people that inspired him was the founder of the Voice Of The Martyrs, Richard Wrumbrand. Now, Richard has gone on to eternity, but he has left his books with us. And somebody delivered to Andrew Brunson, in prison, some of Richard Wrumbrand’s books. And Andrew began to read them. And Pastor Wrumbrand’s example was a challenge and an inspiration to Pastor Brunson. And he writes in his book about one of the things that that Wrumbrand did was he wrote in one of his books that, “Hey, the Bible tells us when we’re persecuted, we’re supposed to rejoice.”
Todd Nettleton : And so the thing that pastor Wrumbrand did in his cell is he would dance, and he would say, “Lord, I don’t feel like rejoicing, but when we’re rejoicing, we dance.” And so he danced in his cell. Andrew Brunson took that example and put that into practice in his own cell, in prison, in Turkey. And he said he did it purely as an act of discipline, purely as an act of the will. “Lord, I don’t feel like celebrating, I don’t feel joyful, but out of discipline and out of submission to your word, which says we’re supposed to rejoice, I’m going to dance as if I were-
Sam Rohrer: And amen. We’re going to have to break away for a break here.
Sam Rohrer: Well, as we now move into our final segment of this very important emphasis today, we’re going to, in just a moment, close in prayer. I’m going to ask our special guest, Todd Nettleton. He’s the host of the Voice Of The Martyrs radio program. And Isaac and Gary and myself, if there’s time, to take and do exactly what we’re asking to be done and that is to pray. The scripture says throughout that really there’s a principle there that when the body of Christ rejoices, we should all rejoice. When one suffers, we should all feel that suffering. In all cases, we should be bringing in prayer before the Lord, all of those who are certainly of the household of faith, that’s what we need to do, it’s God’s plan. Well, this coming Sunday, the first Sunday of November is designated as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church of which we’ve just been speaking.
Sam Rohrer: So many across this world, right now, are under active persecution. The numbers are estimated to be 300 million or more. And it’s in many, many countries. We need to pray for those individuals, obviously most of them, you and I, as we listen to this program and are participating, we don’t know who they are. But that’s why we need to pray because the Lord knows who they are and He will hear our prayers in those kinds of cases.
Sam Rohrer: So Todd, let me just ask you for a just a quick response before I ask you to pray and lead off for us, but as you deal with persecuted Christians, from your perspective, if there would be one most often heard prayer request, of those who are persecuted, if they were to say, “If the Christians of the world would pray for us, this is what we would ask them to pray for,” What would it be?
Todd Nettleton : The prayer request that they have is an interesting one and a convicting one. It is pray that we’ll be faithful. Not pray that our persecution will end or pray that our government will change or whatever that might be. Pray that we will be faithful in spite of the persecution that we’re forced to face.
Sam Rohrer: All right, ladies and gentlemen, did you get that? Those who are persecuted, and in this country we have just the first tinges of it. Most people who are listening right now, we’ve not experienced persecution like many around the world are. But as you just heard Todd say, those who are persecuted, truly persecuted for their faith are not asking that, “Lord, remove the persecution,” but, “Lord, give us the strength to endure that our light may shine and the truth of the gospel community.” That’s really what they’re saying. That’s an amazing thing.
Sam Rohrer: Todd, if you could, please, go to the Lord in prayer, pray for those things as you have mentioned and then just a minute or two would be fine. And then Isaac, I would like you to follow and then Gary, if you could then follow Isaac. And then depending on the time of the program, then I will close in prayer. Let us do exactly what we’re encouraging all of you listening to do. Pastors, that you do, and lead your church in prayer this Sunday as we pray for the persecuted church. Todd, would you head, please?
Todd Nettleton : Father, I lift up the members of our family, your family, who are being persecuted around the world. Lord, we do pray that you will encourage them and help them to be faithful in spite of suffering, in spite of discouragement, in spite of enemies of the gospel coming against them. Lord, I also pray that through your Holy spirit, supernaturally, you would let them know, right even at this moment, that someone is praying for them, that they are not alone. They’re not forgotten, they are part of the wider body of Christ. Just remind them of that fact right now, Lord, and encourage them.
Todd Nettleton : Lord, I also want to pray specifically for Pastor Raymond Koh, who was kidnapped in Malaysia. For his wife, Susanna, who doesn’t know, two and a half years later, what happened to her husband. Is he alive? Is he dead? Where is he? Lord, would you, right now, sustain that family? And we pray for Pastor Raymond in captivity. We pray for Susanna and for their children. Encourage them, give them strength. And Lord, we pray for change. We pray that the Malaysian government will reveal what happened to him and where he is and return him to his family. Lord, we’re thankful that we’re a part of your body and that we can lift up each other’s hands during hard times. In Jesus name.
Isaac Crockett: Amen.
Isaac Crockett: Father, we do come to you now asking for you to strengthen all of us, but especially for our brothers and sisters in bonds and in persecution. We pray that they would be faithful. We pray that you would just work and empower them in a special way, as was written in Romans eight by Paul, that there’s nothing that shall separate us from the love of Christ. Not tribulation, not distress, not persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword. For your sake, many of our brothers and sisters are being slaughtered like sheep. But in all these things, we are more than conquerors. And so we pray right now, dear Lord, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, things present nor things to come, that there’ll be no height, no depth, no creature under the sun that would ever separate any of your chosen from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Isaac Crockett: We love you. Father, we thank you for your protection and your guidance, your strength, even when those who hate you come after us. We pray now that that strength and that guidance, that patience, that love, that all of the fruits of the spirit that you give us through your spirit, that your spirit would work in your children, your sons and your daughters to your glory, to your praise and for our good. It’s in the name of our powerful, conquering savior Jesus Christ, we pray these things
Gary Dull: And Father, I say yes and amen to everything that’s been prayed. And I think particularly to bring another name into it, of an American Christian pastor who is a hostage over in India, Pastor Bryan Nerren. Lord, he’s been over there serving you for about 17 or 18 years in Nepal in India. And he’s been arrested because he’s a Christian. Father, I pray for him and others who are in that same category. I pray, dear Lord, that you’ll give them the boldness to stand firm, that you’ll give them the strength that they need to be a witness, even in the face of what they are dealing with. And Father, through their lives, it is my prayer that you will be glorified. Their prayer is that they will be faithful. And I pray that, indeed, will give them the strength to do that and we’ll give you the praise for what you do in Jesus name.
Sam Rohrer: And heavenly Father, as we are so privileged to come into your presence here, four of us on this program leading in different locations across this country, joined by hundreds or thousands across this country who are also listening and joining in prayer. Lord, we are grateful that you’ve made it possible that we can bring our request right before you, right into your throne room. And that you will hear and answer. We lift up those who are imprisoned, those who are being actively persecuted for their faith around the world, give them strength, oh Lord. May their faith not waiver. May their light burn brightly and may the strength and the power of the gospel be communicated through their lives and through their examples to those who would be their oppressors, oh Lord. I pray also for those who are in positions of government leadership. Your purposes for them are to praise those who do well and to punish those who do evil.
Sam Rohrer: They will give an account, Oh Lord, for either what they are doing in their persecution or to protect those who are persecuted. So we pray for them because they also will stand before you one day. And I pray, Lord, for those in our country, those of us listening right now who have been the recipients of such blessing and peace for so long, as we witness the tearing away of the foundations that have given us that blessing and peace. And as we see persecution looming on the horizon, may we be more active than ever. Oh Lord, in letting our light shine for you, being that salt and that light as you’ve designed us to be. We pray for these things and we committed to you, in Jesus name, amen.
Sam Rohrer: Well, Todd Nettleton, thank you for being with us today. As you represent Voice Of The Martyrs as their radio host and for all that you do as a ministry, we thank God for what you’re doing and we pray the God will hold you-.
By Sam Rohrer, January 30, 2019
In a digital world in which anyone can share any belief, what if the facts call for us to repent and call out to Christ to be Our Savior?
One of the strong “selling” points of the internet is that it allows everyone who desires to contribute their opinions to do so. Regardless of their station in life, people can express what they think on the web — and others can chime in with their own versions of opinion.
In a democratic society, this is probably a good thing. Opinions, however, are not necessarily valid just because they are “out there.” Some people have weak thinking processes, and when it comes to the Bible, there are others whose knowledge of the Scriptures runs extraordinarily shallow. Throw in the truth that some people don’t know what a fact is compared to an opinion — and you may get a mashup of doubtful worth.
During the past month or so, for example, we’ve heard uninformed people say they believe the president of the United States has committed acts that call for impeachment, when they don’t know what comprises an impeachable act. The discussion really becomes interesting when the uninformed are leading the unknowing in an effort to act in a way that is totally anti-constitutional.
So let’s take a look at the definitions of the words people are so ready to spout off about:
- A fact is a statement that is true and can be verified objectively. In other words, a fact is true and correct, no matter what.
- An opinion is a statement that holds an element of belief; it tells how someone feels. An opinion is not always true and cannot be proven.
Unfortunately, we’ve lost the distinction of which is true — a fact or opinion — and which can be proven with verity. In the world of facts, scientific truth can often be the arbiter. For example, I might be of the opinion that I can drive a motorcycle through a concrete buttress at 150 miles per hour, and even be sincere in my belief. The concrete doesn’t necessarily verify my belief because of the facts involved with the composition of the material, as well as what happens in its interaction with my comparatively frail body. In “facts vs. opinion,” the facts win regardless of opinion.
Just because the internet makes communication more democratic does not make the opinions expressed there either true or false. Right now, scholars are debating the future of truth and misinformation (non-facts) on the web. There are two schools of thought on this question, according to a study from the Pew Research Center: “Experts are evenly split on whether the coming decade will see a reduction in false and misleading narratives online. Those forecasting improvement place their hopes in technological fixes and in societal solutions. Others think the dark side of human nature is aided more than stifled by technology.”
The Bible talks about the evil in men’s hearts, the desire of one man to hurt the other, and especially the tendency of one person to hurt his or her fellow human with lies. These are more than just statements of opinion. These suggest a darkened heart and mind with a tendency to sin against another rather than build them up.0:29
The Bible is quite clear. See if you find opinion or fact in the following verses:
- “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
- “For the wages [payment] of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)
- “… it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)
- “… He hath made Him [Jesus, who knew no sin] to be sin for us … that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11)
- “… without shedding of blood there is no remission [pardon]” (Hebrews 9:22)
- “… God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
- “God … commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
- In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’”
- “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12)
- “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13)
You may say the Bible is a book of religious fiction with reality to sin, judgment or accountability to God as Creator and Judge. Surely, then, there could be no hell and no heaven, either. Some people say the words of the Bible are just opinion. But what if they are wrong? What if the facts call for us to repent of sin and call out to Christ to be our Savior?
Perhaps the God who is unchanging Truth and who cannot permit sin before Him, but who loved the world — you and me — so much that His Son Jesus Christ died and paid for the penalty of our sin, is truly a fact.Perhaps a change in heart and mind is called for, regardless of who believes it is opinion or not.
Facts do matter.
Note: This article was originally published on the Lifezette website HERE.
Christmas is one of the most universally celebrated Christian holidays but its primary focus of Jesus as being the Promised Jewish Redeemer is mostly unknown. Yet, says the American Pastors Network (APN), when Jesus is viewed through the Jewish lens of Hanukkah, Christmas and Jesus become truly alive and our attention is drawn to the fact that God keeps His promises.
APN recently explored this interesting topic on its weekly television program, “Stand in the Gap” TV, which airs on several regional networks, including in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, and nationally on Upliftv.
For the show, APN president and “Stand in the Gap” TV host Sam Rohrer welcomed Dr. Craig Hartman, founder and director of Shalom Ministries in New York City.
“The rich Jewish history, prophecy and importance of Jesus’ first and second coming and the connection to Hanukkah and temple worship is often carelessly discarded or simply unknown to Christians generally to the collective harm of both Jew and Gentile,” Rohrer said. “Christianity generally but sadly starts with Jesus in the manger not the Promised Redeemer in the Garden of Eden and covenanted through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Christianity also ignores the strategic holy days and convocations established by God for the Jews—and the Gentiles—so they would recognize Jesus when He came and the promise of eternal security that He guarantees to all who are His sheep.”
Rohrer added that the show had several goals so that Christians and Jews alike can find common ground and reason to celebrate.
- To establish a connection between the Jewish observance of Hanukkah and Christmas
- To lay the groundwork for the prophetical significance of the dedicated Temple, the historical fulfillment of this prophecy in Hanukkah and the glorious description of Jesus the unspotted sacrifice and the rededicated Temple
- To establish the challenge to both Jew and Gentile of what should be the real focus for the entire world during the Christmas and Hanukkah observances
“It is most unfortunate that in America and the western world—which rose to historic worldwide prominence by embracing the Judeo-Christian worldview of an eternal god, a creation, a fall and then redemption—has failed to learn the amazing significance of Hanukkah to our Christian faith. These four basic elements are the essence of a biblical worldview. In previous ‘Stand in the Gap’ programs, we’ve emphasized the character and nature of God, highlighting Him as Creator and mankind as the highest of God’s creations with an eternal soul and created in God’s image. We’ve gone into depth on cultural issues that arise out the fall and sin.
Now,” Rohrer continued, “we can focus on the aspect of redemption that was promised following the fall and realized in the first coming of Jesus Christ in his miraculous but prophesied birth in Bethlehem—the event we call Christmas. Yet Christmas is wonderfully linked to the festival of Hanukkah because it draws our minds and hearts to Jesus as Shepherd, Redeemer and Guarantor of eternal security for those who are true believers, because Jesus Himself celebrated Hanukkah every year He was on earth.”
Besides the television program, which has explored such topics as gun control, immigration, opioid addiction, race relations, Israel, Islam, marriage, voting and more, APN offers three national radio programs—“Stand in the Gap Today,” “Stand in the Gap Minute” and “Stand in the Gap Weekend”—airing on hundreds of stations nationwide at different times of day and reaching millions each week. These very popular and well-received programs consider the most important concerns facing the world from a biblical and constitutional perspective.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: A multi-part series looking back at the impact of the American Pastors Network over the past five years.)
Serving as a pastor can sometimes be a thankless job, with few in the church who can truly identify with the role and appreciate the “always-on-call” nature of the position.
But for five years, the American Pastors Network (APN) has helped equip pastors with resources, insight, encouragement and culture-changing information that help them educate their congregations to “stand in the gap for truth” alongside other members of church leadership.
Throughout November, APN will reflect on its five-year anniversary, on God’s provision and all the blessings bestowed upon the ministry since its inception in 2013. The Pennsylvania Pastors Network began in 2005 in the first capital city of our nation, Philadelphia. From this one state chapter, APN was birthed. Today, APN celebrates that the national network of pastors has started eight state chapters over the years with many in the wings to launch additional state chapters. Currently, APN state chapters exist in Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia—with three others preparing to launch.
As it looks back on five years of ministry, APN asked three state chapter presidents this question: “As a busy pastor, what was it about APN and its mission that persuaded you and your state leadership team to assume the leadership of your state pastors network?”
Tim Berlin, president of the Michigan Pastors Network, says the answer is twofold.
“I love the emphasis APN puts on the pulpit ministry,” he said. “I completely agree with the fact that we (must) motivate those to whom we serve and those to whom we lead in the church to have a biblical worldview and to approach the issues of the day from the Bible. The Bible teaches us in 2 Peter that (God’s Word) has all the answers for godliness in this world and so that we can live godly. We have all the answers to approach every issue with a biblical worldview and a biblical perspective, and that way, God can be glorified through any and all circumstances and any and all issues of the day. We ought to be teaching and preaching from the Word of God to help our people respond properly to the things that are going on in the world around them.
“I have (also) really appreciated APN’s emphasis on sharing the Gospel with political leaders,” Berlin added. “We are servants of God as called by God to minister in the local church, but they are ministers of God called and appointed by God to serve in public office, and yet many of these have a soul that will spend eternity without Christ if we do not share the Gospel. So we have adopted the premise that we’re going to teach them the Gospel before we try to discuss policy or positions on different issues. We want to build a relationship that allows us to share the Gospel.”
Dale Walker, president of the Tennessee Pastors Network, echoed his fellow leader’s sentiments.
“I’m bi-vocational as many pastors are,” Walker said. “We had a loose group of pastors prior to becoming associated with the American Pastors Network, but the strong biblical worldview to stand in the gap was exactly what attracted us to APN—that we could come together under the umbrella of American Pastors Network and make a major difference across our state and unite Bible-believing preachers to stand in the gap for our country and our nation and our state and our counties and our communities.”
Keith Carnahan, president of the Missouri Pastors Network, said the need is great for a national network of pastors because there are always forces vying for pastors’ time and energy.
“We need to energize the pastors in their pulpits,” he said. “We need to get them to engage in the culture. I’m 65 years old, so I see that the younger generation of preachers hasn’t had the opportunity to understand some of these issues—the battles we’ve been fighting.”
APN President Sam Rohrer said that APN leaders were called and moved to form a ministry that would serve as a nationwide network of biblically faithful pastors and their church members whose objective would be to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded Christians who would: affirm the authority of Scripture; take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture; encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues; examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits; and engage their congregations in taking part in the political process on a non-partisan basis.
“We’ve stayed true to that mission, and God’s blessings have been miraculous,” Rohrer said. “So much has been done with so little. There have been no single deep pockets, no large benefactor and certainly no government funding. Yet God has done great things in five years.”
Specifically, APN has made tremendous strides in media, through both radio and television. APN has three national radio programs—“Stand in the Gap Today,” “Stand in the Gap Minute” and “Stand in the Gap Weekend”—airing on hundreds of stations and reaching millions each week. The programs consider the most important global concerns from a biblical and constitutional perspective. Rohrer also hosts a weekly television program, which considers transcending cultural issues from a biblical worldview perspective. “Stand in the Gap TV” airs on several networks, including WBPH in Philadelphia, VCY-TV in Milwaukee and Upliftv nationally.
Sam Rohrer: Well, the importance of the First Amendment and religious freedom is first among the bill of rights, which obviously it is. First Amendment, religious freedom is right there, because of its primal role in maintaining civil freedom in our nation. Now that freedom’s been under severe attack by many in government and in the media for really a long time. Donald Trump seems to understand the necessity to restore the right, particularly for Christians to be able to speak moral truth and to live a Christian life as they believe the bible defines it to be.
Sam Rohrer: Today on this program, our theme is going to be the First Amendment, from guns to religious freedom. In segments two to four, we’re going to talk with special guest, constitutional attorney David New about Attorney General Sessions’ formation of a religious liberty task force. Then we’re going to talk about Secretary of State Pompeo’s pronouncement that US foreign policy is going to be guided by the goal of advancing religious freedom worldwide.
Sam Rohrer: Now in segment one, we’re going to talk with legislative counsel to gun owners of America, Mike Hammond is his name, about how the First Amendment ties in with the Second Amendment, in the current controversy of the ability to 3D print firearms. Now listen this will be an interesting conjecture. Well, not conjecture but a nexus. All of this is going to be more here on today’s edition of Stand in the Gap Today. With that introduction I’d like to welcome you to the program.
Sam Rohrer: I’m Sam Rohrer and I’m joined today by Dr. Gary Dull and our special guest in this first segment, Mike Hammond, who I mentioned is legislative counsel for gun owners of America, whose website can be found at gunowners.org. Mike, thank you for calling in today and joining us on the program for this first segment.
Mike Hammond: Thank you for having me honorable Sam, and hello America.
Sam Rohrer: Well I’ll tell you Mike, we’re glad to have you on and this is what it’s going to be about. We got a big issue. We only have about 10 minutes in this first segment, but there’s a current controversy out there, that’s being engaged in across the country. It stems from a decision by a Texas judge to prevent companies from disseminating the plans by which guns can be made by the new 3D printing process.
Sam Rohrer: On one hand, this is a First Amendment issue because it talks about the ability to communicate freely. But on the other hand, it’s a Second Amendment issue because it concerns guns, and a number of the states attorneys general have filed a claim to stop the communication of these plans, citing that it will impinge upon their firearms control act within the various states. At this point, Mike, I’m not yet seen a good analysis of this controversy, and I know of no one better qualified than gun owners of America and you to give some clarity. This is the question I want to pose first. Is this controversy a First Amendment issue? Is it a Second Amendment issue or is it even more than that?
Mike Hammond: Well it’s both a First and a Second Amendment issue. It’s a First Amendment issue because of this. That program that allows you to make that gun with the 3D printer is basically computer code, just as everything else that goes over the internet is a computer code. Well, what the government tried to do, and what eight states are now trying to do is say that certain types of computer code should be illegal because of the content of the information they convey.
Mike Hammond: Now the First Amendment is not absolute in any sense. The same analogy or metaphor is that you can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, but basically you’re talking about a suppression of speech which really doesn’t have much of a purpose here. The plastic guns which would be created by this computer code can fire about, without a metal barrel, can fire about two rounds before they blow up in your face. With the metal barrel, they are detectable by metal detectors. Bullets are detectable by metal detectors, and even plastic guns without barrels or bullets are detectable by x-ray machines and by body scanners. You have a suppression of First Amendment rights for no purpose whatsoever other than the fact that there’s some people in America who don’t like guns.
Sam Rohrer: So you’re saying that basically, even if a person downloads the code and can print themselves out something made in plastic, it doesn’t work much anyways but the point you’re saying is limiting code or qualifying what is an appropriate code is the problem. If that’s the case, a host of other things could be limited by governmental action of determining what’s good or bad as well. Is that correct?
Mike Hammond: Yeah, basically.
Sam Rohrer: Okay.
Mike Hammond: When anything that you disagree with. As the listeners to your program probably know, those people who run around with their hair on fire screaming about the primacy of the First Amendment when it comes to articles in the New York Times or Washington Post or broadcast on MSNBC, have no problem suppressing speech when it’s speech they disagree with.
Sam Rohrer: Okay. Now all right. We’ve got about two minutes here. I want, one final question. And as I said we’re only going to be able to touch on this, but you went to the heart of that and I appreciate it. This is the other question I have. In simple terms, since citizens do have the right to own and use firearms, and while that right has been limited by law, we know, in a number of ways, even then, do citizens have the right to make their firearms if they are able to do so? Therefore, whether they choose to do it by 3D printing or any other method, do they not have that right to do so and must not that right be protected if it’s there?
Mike Hammond: Yes. In virtually every case, the law recognizes the right of an individual to make his own firearms for his own personal use if that firearm doesn’t travel in interstate or foreign commerce. That is the law, irrespective of whether it’s constitutional or not. You have the right to make your own firearm. My guess is that if Brett Cavanaugh gets on the Supreme Court, you’re going to see a lot of the laws which currently exist, particularly in states like New York or California, just completely blowing up.
Sam Rohrer: Meaning? You brought him up.
Mike Hammond: Meaning that a lot of laws which is exist are almost certainly unconstitutional and will probably shortly be found to be unconstitutional but the right to make your own firearm, for use by yourself, in your own home, is something which even the law recognizes.
Sam Rohrer: Okay. All right, so how do you think this is going to come around? Do you think the judge is going to turn in on his decision?
Mike Hammond: Currently the State Department has entered into an agreement with Corey Wilson, the Texas code maker that he can continue to send his code over the internet. Now eight states have gone into three different liberal jurisdictions and tried to get orders preventing that court from validating that agreement. If one court is allowed to interfere with the actions of a higher court, particularly the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, that’s going to be a very interesting outcome. I don’t think that would be considered reasonable, contest other than a crazy liberalism that we’re facing now from the anti-gun movement.
Sam Rohrer: All right, well Mike Hammond, and legislative counsel for gun owners of America, which you can go to their website and I encourage you to do so. Gunowners.org. Great organization. Mike, thanks for being with us.
Mike Hammond: Thank you.
Sam Rohrer: And taking us right to the heart of a very thorny issue. I want to get you back at some point.
Sam Rohrer: Well the foundation of the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States, found its root in the pursuit of religious liberty, and that started with the pilgrims and went to the Puritans and William Penn of Pennsylvania and many others. While our nation remembered this foundation of freedom to worship God without governmental restraint, while we did that, America has been blessed.
Sam Rohrer: But when this freedom has been undermined, belittled, redefined or attacked, as it has been in recent administrations, God’s blessing has been diminished, along with it. Now under the Trump administration, great efforts are being made to restore the fullness of the First Amendment, starting with the president signing a relationship freedom statement over a year ago. But now, two notable events coming in sequence after that, have occurred in this administration. We believe that they both noteworthy and need to be discussed. One of them is domestic and the other has to do with international, which we’ll talk about that in the next segment.
Sam Rohrer: We’re going to discuss this now with our special guest, constitutional attorney and historian and author David New. But before I bring him in and ask him his opinion, let me play about two minutes worth here of a longer presentation by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, where he just announced the formation of a religious liberty task force. Now enjoy what he’s saying. Listen to this.
Jeff Sessions: This president and this Department of Justice are determined to protect and advance our magnificent heritage of freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is indeed our first freedom, being the first listed right in the First Amendment. This has been a core American principle from the beginning. It was one of the reasons this country was settled in the first place. The promise of freedom of conscience brought the pilgrims to Plymouth, the Catholics to Maryland, the Quakers to Pennsylvania, Scot Presbyterians to middle colonies, Roger Williams to Rhode Island.
Jeff Sessions: Each of these groups and others knew what it was like to be hated, persecuted, outnumbered and discriminated against. Each one knew what it was like to have a majority try to force them to deny their natural right to practice the faith they hold dear. Our founders gave religious expression a double protection in the First Amendment. Not only do we possess the freedom to exercise our religious belief, we also enjoy the freedom of speech.
Jeff Sessions: Our founders’ understanding of and commitment to religious freedom was truly brilliant. It was historic, really. It arose in large part from the principles delineated in the Virginia statute for religious freedom and its effective, brilliant advocates Madison and Jefferson. These guys were ferocious. This weekend I was reading Gary Wills’ fabulous, “Head and Heart,” in which he quotes extensively from Jefferson’s statute for religious freedom in Virginia. I commend all of it to you, but one line stood out in particular to me. “That Almighty God hath created the mind free and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain, by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint.”
Sam Rohrer: Wow, and there was a whole lot more to that presentation, ladies and gentlemen, but you got the essence of what the attorney general was saying and what a difference from previous administrations. I want to bring in right now, David New. Thanks David for being with us. You’re a constitutional attorney. We’ve talked a lot about matters of freedom and religious freedom, but when you heard what I just played there, with Attorney General Sessions, was there an overarching message that he was delivering in this statement? If so, what do you think it was?
David New: Well one of the great themes of world history is a fight between two positions. Is God above the state or is the state above God? You go back in world history, and you’ll see different regimes in the world answer that question differently. As the vice-president said in his speech, 83% of the population of the world do not enjoy religious freedom. That’s because their governments say the state is above God.
David New: There’s a reason why they do that. There’s a reason why religious freedom is not popular with governments. I’m going to use the modern term, and I don’t mean to be irreverent when I use it, but if you have God above the state, what you in effect allow, is God to be a separate power center from the government. The governments don’t like that.
Sam Rohrer: Okay say that again. It’s worth repeating. Say that again.
David New: If you allow God to be above the state, which is what most of the governments of the world don’t want, because God becomes a competitor to the state. It becomes a competitor to the government. God becomes and is a separate power center within the culture. It limits government. God limits government through the process of voting and through the process of the people. Tyrannical governments don’t like that. They don’t want to be limited by God or anything else. That’s why most of the world does not have religious freedom because governments don’t want to be constrained by God.
Sam Rohrer: So what you are saying there is that, effectively, the overarching message that Attorney General Sessions made was that he acknowledged a biblical worldview position, that recognizes that God is above all, and that includes government. That is a startling distinction and difference from previous administrations, is it not?
David New: Absolutely. That is one of the great debates in history. Is God above the state or is the state above God? That’s the big fight. America has said, God is above the state. The secularists, the secularists who are gaining power in America, their position is, the state is above God, and that’s why they’re going to lead us into tyranny.
Sam Rohrer: Gary, let me go to you right now. We all listen from our perspectives. David New is an attorney, constitutional attorney. You’re a pastor. I’ve been in office. I preach. We all have a little different perspective. When you listen to that presentation by the Attorney General, what was it that stood out to you that really caught your attention?
Gary Dull: Well actually Sam, there were two things that stood out to me, and I appreciate Jeff Sessions bringing this out and it’s brought out clearly and it needs to be heard. That is number one, as it relates to our first freedom. He said that the reason why this country was settled in the first place, was for this freedom. You know, the freedom of religion, the freedom to be able to practice one’s faith as we see fit to do so. That’s something that people across this country need to know today.
Gary Dull: But then the second thing that he brought out, that I really appreciated, that we need to herald, because we are living in a day and age, when people are trying to suppress it. That is the double protection that we have in that First Amendment. That number one, we’ve got the freedom to practice our religion, to practice our faith. Not only that, but in the United States of America, according to the wisdom that God gave our founders, we’ve got the freedom to talk about it as well.
Gary Dull: That freedom goes far beyond what any liberal or secularist or communist would like to try to take away from us today. Those are two points that he brought out that really stood out to me, that we need to promote more and more I believe. I’m glad he said it. I think that was just great.
Sam Rohrer: I did too. David New, let me go back to you on that, because Gary referenced something there, those freedoms. That they are there. One thing we’ve talked about a lot and you’ve talked about it. Freedoms and having them down there in the First Amendment, the Second Amendment and all of those things, that’s very, very important, but what is our citizen’s duty, relative to those freedoms? We have to exercise them and if we don’t, don’t we run in trouble? Talk a little bit about the responsibility to recognize and exercise those freedoms, lest we lose them.
David New: If you don’t use it, you lose it. Now I want to say something about the First Amendment by the way, because you hear this all the time. Everybody’s right when we say, well the freedom of religion is the first freedom listed in the First Amendment, that is correct. But historically, the First Amendment was number three on the list of Bill of Rights. It wasn’t number one.
David New: The first, when the Congress sent the Bill of Rights to the states, they sent 12 amendments. 12, not 10. The first two failed to pass. The third to the 12th passed. That third was the First Amendment. The original First Amendment had to do with apportionment. Now if you want to read the original Second Amendment, go the 27th Amendment of the constitution of the United States. It was ratified in 1992, exactly the same wording. It is the original Second Amendment, but it took 203 years to pass. When people say religion is our first freedom, you need to understand what that means. It doesn’t mean it was first on the list because originally, as I said, the First Amendment originally was number three. It becomes number one because the first and second fail to pass, but the second that was sent to the states in 1789 along with all the other amendments, it was ratified in 1992. All during World War I, World War II, nobody knew it, but we were still ratifying the original Second Amendment.
Sam Rohrer: Well ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to continue talking about this because the Attorney General did mention that when the Quakers came, the Puritans came, the Pilgrims came, the Scottish came, the Roman Catholics to Maryland, all of that, he did say the importance of the driving passion of people to come here. That is a fact as well. So all these things go together into what we now has as the First Amendment.
Sam Rohrer: Let me shift now to the matter of religious freedom on the international level. The First Amendment, the foundation of religious liberty and the entire concept that all rights come from God is essential for all of those in positions of authority, if freedom as we have known it, is to endure both here and around the world.
Sam Rohrer: Anyone who’s in position of authority, if they don’t understand that, and David New talked about it earlier on, it’s a view. Either God is above government or government is above God. That mindset is critical in how policies are implemented and put into place. The leadership of the United States though, in matters of truth and freedom have existed for generations, and nations around the world today owe their freedom today, to the United States because of our commitment to religious freedom and an understanding that those rights come from God.
Sam Rohrer: Not only has the Trump administration through Jeff Sessions the Attorney General in announcing the new religious liberty task force, Secretary of State Pompeo last week initiated a new ministerial to advance religious freedom. That was the name of it. Ministerial to advance religious freedom. He did that on a worldwide basis and there were people from all over the world who came to Washington DC. Listen to just a minute of what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said about this initiative. I think you’ll also be encouraged by what he said.
Mike Pompeo: This year more than 80 delegations, including dozens of minister level representatives from around the world are here today. Thank you for making this cause a priority in your country. Thank you for working with us. My own faith is of the greatest importance to me personally. As an American I’ve been blessed with the right to live out what I believe without fear of persecution or reprisal from my government.
Mike Pompeo: I want everyone else to enjoy this blessing too. President Trump’s unwavering commitment to religious freedom and to decision to hold this first ever religious freedom ministerial is not driven by my own personal story, but rather it is rooted in the American story. The Trump administration recognizes that religious freedom is a fundamental American liberty, and this has been clear from the administration’s earliest days and indeed the earliest days of our nation. The United States advances religious freedom in our foreign policy because it is not exclusively an American right. It is a God-given universal right bestowed on all of mankind.
Sam Rohrer: Wow, that’s pretty powerful. David New, I’m going to go back to you. First right off here, I asked you your opinion of what Jeff Sessions said. Now I’m going to ask you what you think about what Mike Pompeo just said, in light of the fact, how aggressively the Obama and Clinton administration used taxpayer dollars and the State Department’s position using taxpayer dollars to leverage other nations to advance the cause of abortion, the LGBT agenda and they did nothing, literally nothing to help persecuted Christians around the world. This, by Mike Pompeo and the State Department and this administration is nothing short of an amazing turnaround. Give me your reaction to what Secretary of State Pompeo said in that last clip.
David New: Well as former Senator Barbara Boxer of California said, “Elections have consequences.” God has blessed America with a new president and a new Secretary of State who have their priorities straight. I say straight not just in terms of rank, but I mean in terms of family values as well. Now, what’s being stated here is something that’s very, very important. There is a very, very thin line between religion and politics. The line is so thin it’s almost imperceptible. Most Christians don’t think of it that way, but it’s quite true. If you want to read a powerful political statement … It’s a spiritual statement, but it’s a very powerful political statement and it ultimately resulted in the American revolution, turn to the book of Ephesians.
David New: The second chapter and verse 8, this is not only a spiritual truth. It is a political position. It is a political statement. “For by grace,” there’s the key word, “For by grace are you saved by faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift,” there’s the second word, “Of God.” Where does that give the government power over religion? It immediately throws it out. The doctrine of grace eliminates government from controlling religious freedom.
David New: Salvation is not something the government gives you. It’s a gift that cuts the government out. Now, how did this affect the American Revolution? Samuel Adams is the father of the American Revolution, but before Samuel Adams, there was George Whitfield, and George Whitfield went around all over the colonies in the 1730s and so forth, and the ’60s and all that. He was saying you’re saved by grace and that not of yourselves, and that it’s a gift of God. What does that mean? That means that the king of England, who says he’s the head of the church and that the king’s soldiers who are God’s soldiers, guess what that does? It ruins it and eliminates it. It makes it possible for Americans to shoot at the king’s soldiers and not fear hell.
Sam Rohrer: Wow. David, that is a wonderful piece of news. You go into the heart of it again. You said it in the first segment. It’s either God above government or government above God. Now you come back in to say again, that if the king is God, it’s one view because the king is actually government as the same time. If you change that, you change the entire view of politics.
David New: Yes.
Sam Rohrer: Policy.
David New: Absolutely.
Sam Rohrer: And everything that happens. Gary, let me go to you right now for your opinion here. Because we’re talking about this from the standpoint of how we as Christians and constitutionalists view these policy statements made by the Attorney General and Secretary of State Pompeo on matters of religious freedom. We can draw a contrast between now and what we saw in the previous administration. I’m more concerned even about what God thinks about that. Gary can you just kind of give us a biblical perspective of how God is looking down on these things that we’re talking about? Can you bring some biblical focus on this now to us?
Gary Dull: Oh I would say right to the point, that I think that as God looks down upon these freedoms that we are talking about today, that in a great many ways have been restricted or were on their way to greater restriction, and as we see these freedoms growing today, I think God’s pleased with that. But you know, what a change. Think about it, Sam. What a change. For instance, we heard what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said about his own personal faith in that statement that he gave, and we know that he’s brought Sam Brownback on to work with him as it relates to religious freedom here in this country and around the world.
Gary Dull: Now, where I’m going with that is here. I was involved eight, ten years ago, when we were working to get Susan Johnson Cook into the State Department to be the ambassador at large for religious freedom under Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. You remember that Sam? I think you probably remember us talking about that. Never, ever, ever did I hear such a clear statement from Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State or Barack Obama, the President of the United States concerning religious freedom as we are hearing from our current Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and our currently President Donald Trump.
Gary Dull: Now Susan Johnson Cook was an advocate of religious freedom indeed, but she was restricted. She told us personally how restricted she was in doing certain things. I don’t think that there’s any restriction right here with Sam Brownback, with Mike Pompeo, under the administration of Donald Trump. I’ll tell you what. It’s the difference between black and white. It’s the difference between day and night. I’m thankful for what we’re seeing today, and I think God’s pleased with it too.
Sam Rohrer: Gary I think that he is as well, because when this happens, it reflects again a biblical worldview that David New, you called out, that we talk about a lot on this program. For that God will bless, but countering that ladies and gentlemen, does not bring God’s blessing, but actually judgment on the country. This is a right direction.
Sam Rohrer: The First Amendment is first with religious freedom at the front for a reason. We went through a little bit on the program today how it actually got there, but our founders knew, its foundational importance when they came to our country. We’ve already talked about it and Dave mentioned it, David New mentioned it. Our pulpits exercised that freedom by boldly declaring the truth of God’s word and a biblical worldview. That helped to set the stage for an emerging nation to be able to adopt and accept the principles of the declaration, ultimately the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and our whole concept of justice. It all came from that.
Sam Rohrer: Yet it seems that we now have a culture with little memory of what it took to maintain freedom, to start freedom, to maintain freedom, be it the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, all the way to the Tenth Amendment. The question is what are the basic pillars of thought that must be in place for our nation to maintain religious freedom and our First Amendment that has so blessed this nation. We’ve talked about it, the contrast between the last administration and what we’re now seeing, with these recent decisions of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Sam Rohrer: Now David, you’ve already delved into this a little bit, but I want to ask you form a historical perspective here, how specifically were the tenets, these underpinnings of religious freedom defined by the pulpits in America? You’ve referred to all this a little bit. What were they and to what degree are these tenets being undermined today?
David New: Well there’s no question of that the pulpits of America were instrumental because George Whitfield said we’re saved by grace. We can fight the king’s soldiers, who they think represent God. But it goes even deeper to that. I wanted to go into a little bit about what the Attorney General said about Thomas Jefferson’s bill for establishing religious freedom. That was bill number 82 out of 126 bills.
David New: Thomas Jefferson considered that bill 82 as the foundation for religious freedom in America and the Supreme Court considers it as well. They cite bill 82, the bill for establishing religious freedom as the way to interpret the First Amendment. What’s important about that bill is this. It is not based on secularism. The bill 82, our religious freedom doesn’t come from secularism, especially in the modern sense of the word, the post-Darwin sense of the word.
David New: Our freedom of religion is based upon God and that’s what Thomas Jefferson believed. Let’s look carefully at the very first sentence of what Jefferson said in bill number 82. By the way, of the three things listed on Jefferson’s tombstone, one was his authorship of the Declaration of Independence. The other was his foundation of the University of Virginia. And this bill, number 82. He won international fame because of this bill number 82.
David New: What he did once he got it passed, or Madison got it passed for him in 1786, he sent copies of that bill all over the world, and that grew his reputation. Now here’s the first sentence, and the Attorney General quoted it in part. It says, “Whereas Almighty God,” now you see that word Almighty God ladies and gentlemen? El Shaddai, Genesis 17:1. That means religious freedom is not based on secularism. It’s based upon God. It goes on.
David New: “Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free and that all civil governments who try to interfere it are as an ends of the persons are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion.” This excludes the modern concept of secularism that the ACLU promote. They say if you want to have a lot of religious freedom, promote secularism in the post-Darwin sense of the word, and that is false. If you want to have religious freedom, you promote secularism in the pre-Darwin sense of the word which means God is the source of freedom.
Sam Rohrer: Gary I want to go to you right now. You’ve laid that out just perfectly well. Gary, the modern culture, and we talk about it in this program a lot. Bringing to bear biblical worldview principles to impact our culture. Well, we know, we’ve talked about it a lot. The role of the pulpit in America has been greatly diminished. The value of it, let’s put it this way, the viewed value of it by the culture has been diminished. Not diminished in God’s eyes, but it’s been diminished in the eyes of the culture.
Sam Rohrer: Many pulpits we know have gone incredibly silent on matters of applying biblical principles to these issues, what we’re talking about right here. As a culture, I think without question, we’ve turned our worship of God who as David said clearly, it’s either God above government or government above God, we’ve turned it from God and actually put government or at least the creation of man of some type in front of it, a dangerous perspective, which is what makes these statements by Attorney General Sessions and Mike Pompeo so significant. But Gary, this is where I want to go with you. You’re a pastor. You’ve been preaching for a long time now. Is it possible for religious freedom in this country, the basic tenets of what we believe and hold and have, is it possible that that can continue without the pulpits reawakening our people to who God is?
Gary Dull: No. That’s what the pulpits need to do. You know, Sam, it’s interesting you ask that question, and of course, you know taking into consideration, this word, the reacquaintance with who God is. You know there are three statements that I render often, probably once a sermon or at least close to it when I preach here. Thank God the church at Altoona, Pennsylvania is this. We need to get to know who God is, what God expects, and how God operates. Until we get to know who God is, what God expects and how God operates, everything’s going to go awry.
Gary Dull: Preachers in the pulpit need to preach that. People in the pew need to search it out and believe it and we need to proclaim it. One of the reasons why we’ve got the freedoms that we have today is because the pulpits were strong in the day on who God is, what God expects and how God operates. Yes, we need to get reacquainted with who God is. Then everything else, Sam, would come into order, as God would have it to be.
Sam Rohrer: Gary, that’s a great way to conclude. Ladies and gentlemen, we often say our fourth segment is our solutions segment. I think all of us listening, we understand the value … Let’s put it this way, to some extent we understand the importance of religious freedom. When we start to get squeezed, we understand it even more. When persecution becomes prevalent we understand it even more. What Brother Gary just said there is really what it is. We have to understand who God is, what God expects, how God operates. If he’s not on top, government is, or something else, and at that point, it’s upside down and God cannot bless.
Dave Kistler: Well, ladies and gentlemen, a federal judge recently told school officials in San Diego, California, to reveal details of their work with an Islamic advocacy organization that has been designated as a terrorist group. Of course, by that designation it puts them in the same classification as ISIS itself. Now a legal team in that fight says it has issued investigative subpoenas to the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, otherwise known as CAIR, as part of a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the San Diego United School District’s anti-Islamophobia Initiative.
The case is being handled by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which is working on behalf of parents in that particular school district. Now, here’s the problem: The district’s multi-year program was developed under the direction of CAIR as a holistic plan to protect Muslim students and their families from bullying and discrimination. As part of the initiative, staff and students are taught by CAIR officials to become allies to Muslim students. And CAIR is empowered to revise school curriculum to portray Islam more favorably.
You heard me correctly: CAIR is empowered to revise school curriculum in order to portray Islam in a more favorable light. Well, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund is seeking communication between CAIR agents in the school district as well as documents tracing the Islamic organization’s strategic process for gaining inside access to impressionable school children. CAIR’s national director testified that proselytizing to school children is a “religious obligation” and that the purpose of CAIR’s educational outreach is to do precisely that, which includes passing out religious propaganda to students during class and attempting, according to CAIR itself, to create a religious educational environment.
The chief counsel for the LCDF, the group that’s fighting this, explained it this way. He said, “Through deliberate manipulation, CAIR has gained unprecedented power and influence over San Diego’s United superintendent and school board, and these subpoenas seek to answer questions about the extent of CAIR’s infiltration into the school district. And with that, I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap Today. I am Dave Kistler. I’m your host today, and along with me to share the radio microphone is Gary Dull, the co-host today. And all this week, we’re going to be doing programs that unveil the evil that is Islamic ideology.
Many of you will remember the incredible poem the president recited during the campaign in 2016. He’s recited it at a rally or two since becoming president of the United States. That poem is called The Vicious Snake. And so our theme today is this. Exposing the Vicious Snake: An Expose of Islamic Ideology and its Grand Design for America.
To help us with our discussion today we have as our special returning guest Tom Wallace. He is the founder of Fortress of Faith. Tom is not only an Islamic scholar, he is also a theological expert and a former missionary in the United Kingdom. And so Tom, I want to welcome you to the program today. Thank you so much for being aboard.
Tom Wallace: Dave, always it’s a joy to be with you and Gary. And I appreciate you guys dealing with this topic. I came off the foreign mission field to warn my countrymen of the dangers of Islam that is not just creeping into our nation, but sweeping. I think we are … I’m amazed at how fast things are developing here. So I appreciate you guys taking the time to cover this topic.
Dave Kistler: Well, Tom, you are one of our favorite guests. We always get great feedback when we have aboard. You’re also host of your own radio program. I would like you to say a little more about that before we end the program today. But let’s go to this topic of what’s going on in the San Diego United School District. CAIR, which of course as you well know, is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, has gained access to and unprecedented influence over America’s school children in that one particular school district, if not other districts around the country as well.
My question to you, Tom, is this: Does this surprise you or is this the modus operandi, the MO for CAIR in how they infiltrate a community, infiltrate a school system, even infiltrate our government?
Tom Wallace: Not in the least. I’ve been warning people about this here for about 10 years now, and let me give you a quote from Omar Ahmad. He gave this down in Southern California back in 1998. He thought he was speaking to just a room of Muslims, but a reporter from the San Ramon Newspaper was there, East Bay Times. And this was July 4th. Now, Omar Ahmad, you need to understand who he is. He is the co-founder of CAIR. He and Nihad Awad founded CAIR many years ago.
And let me quote what Omar Ahmad said: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. In the Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.” Now, they have two faces. They speak one thing to their Muslim community, and another face that they speak to the American public. And they build themselves, they fashion themselves as the civil rights organization to protect civil rights. But they are a Muslim Brotherhood front group.
What’s interesting is that the UAE, the United Arab Emirates, a full-state nation has not only designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, but they’ve gone as far as identifying CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, as a terrorist organization. It’s very clear that the connections, if you follow it, you trace it, it’s not very difficult to follow this. But most of America is asleep at the wheel. We are not aware that this group is operating for the demise, the destruction of our country from within.
Gary Dull: Tom, this is very interesting that you bring this up, but my question is how are Muslim groups so effective in gaining access today when so often Christian groups are never granted that same access?
Tom Wallace: Isn’t it ironic we as a Christian nation, Christians are treated as the stepchild, the ugly stepchild here, and Islam is being embraced at every attempt. When Obama was our president, any opportunity he had to oppose or support Islam, he always went to support them. We see this happening so much, but let me give you really why all this is happening. It’s a spiritual battle we’re in.
Dave Kistler: Tom, let me hold you right there for just a second because we’ve got to go into the break. Ladies and gentlemen, about five days ago a video surfaced of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel attending a meeting of Muslims where both Israel and one of his sheriff deputies spoke in Arabic. The meeting was held at one of the local Mosques. It was held during the month of Ramadan in 2015. So we’re talking about three years ago. The deputies said that Israel pledged to keep young people out of jail and to put “God first, your family second, and the community third.”
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: “Dave, what is wrong with that?” Sheriff Scott Israel of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department wants God first, family second, the community third, but he’s speaking in a mosque where the God of the Islamic community is Allah, and he is not the same as the God of the Bible. So there’s where the problem comes in. In that meeting, Israel speaks in Arabic to a group of Muslims. He credits his deputy Nezar Hamze as a like-minded individual who’s on the same mission as Scott Israel, the sheriff. And Israel compares himself and Hamze to lions on a mission.
Both Israel and Hamze boast that they want to keep young people out of jail rather than put them in jail. Israel says that he puts troubled young people in a program where they will get help with narcotics and other issues. This is a direct quote from Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel: “I want to put God first, my family second, community third.” And then Hamze, the deputy sheriff, who is a Muslim and a member of CAIR there in Florida quotes Israel as telling the sheriff’s office team the same thing.
Israel says, and I quote, ‘”here is only one perfect person: God. And you’re not it, and I’m not it. We make mistakes. Police make mistakes every day. And I understand that. And that’s why we have to partner with our community. Why is Nezar Hamze,” his Muslim deputy police chief, “here? Because as a man who studies Islam and as a Muslim, he’s going to find out information that we can’t. He’s going to bring information back to the community and take information from the community back to us.” And, again, this is Sheriff Scott Israel of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department speaking, and, again, Nezar Hamze, his Muslim deputy sheriff, who is also a member of CAIR.
Now, I want you just to listen to a brief clip of this 2015 meeting. The voice you’re going to hear first is … In fact, actually I think the only voice you’ll hear will be that of Nezar Hamze, the Muslim deputy sheriff in Broward County. I want you to listen to how charismatic he is. I want you to listen to him speaking in Arabic and then in English, getting ready to introduce the sheriff of Broward County to this Muslim Mosque. Russ, let’s listen to the clip.
Nezar Hamze: [Arabic 00:10:58], brothers and sisters. Allah [Arabic 00:11:01] has blessed us with another Ramadan. [Arabic 00:11:05] Allah. Allah [Arabic 00:11:06] has locked the Satan, and [Arabic 00:11:09] the sheriff continues to lock the bad people in jail. Al-ḥamdu li-llāh. Brothers and sisters, I wanted to stand here before you today. Lisa? Is Lisa here? She needs to come up. It’s important that we hear from our community, inshallah. I won’t take much time, and I’ll introduce the sheriff. But I want to testify before you, brothers and sisters, because it’s important for you to hear from us, inshallah.
Al-ḥamdu li-llāh. A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to witness our sheriff be sworn in. And he said something that resonates with me, and I want to share it with you so you know the type of individual and what he does. He said regarding our youth, our children, because we all focus on our children very much, he said he’s going to measure his success by how many kids he keeps out of jail and now how many kids he puts in jail. [Arabic 00:12:05].
Brothers and sisters, this was an indicator for me that this man is a straight man. He is a man of honor, of [huck 00:12:13], of justice. Al-ḥamdu li-llāh. I had another opportunity to hear him speak, and he was talking to his team, the employees, the deputies, the people that protect you on the street. He said, “I want you to put God first.” Listen to me. This sounds like [inaudible 00:12:31]. “I want you to put God first, your family second, and the community third.” [Arabic 00:12:40].
Audience: [crosstalk 00:12:41].
Nezar Hamze: Brothers and sisters, this is the reality. This is the man that is our sheriff.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, that is an amazing clip that you just heard. And, Tom, I want to go to you immediately. You heard the introduction give to Sheriff Scott Israel. He then speaks in Arabic briefly and then in English the rest of the time, during which he insinuates that God is the same for Islam as he is for Jews and Christians, and on and on I could go. This man, I’m talking about lead chief Scott Israel and his deputy chief Nezar Hamze, were the ones who presided over, ladies and gentlemen, the failed attempt at protecting the innocent school children at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Tom, to be honest with you, I’m speechless, and I would love to have your thoughts on all of this.
Tom Wallace: Now, I’ve seen that clip. Of course his deputy chief is dressed there in his deputy sheriff’s uniform, but listening to it just over the radio, the way you played that, at first I was thinking, my goodness, this man sounds like our former president Obama and when he’s addressing the Muslim community. It sounded so much like him. It brought back memories.
Yeah, one thing I think we also need to mention is that there’s a video of the sheriff dressed there and the chief deputy, they’re dressed in his Muslim garb, training this mosque, this Muslim community how they can and should protect themselves with guns. You’ve seen him with his Glock 19 there. They’re demonstrating how to protect yourself with guns, citizens or this Muslim community, and yet this very same Sheriff’s department is very much against teachers being armed and protecting our children there in the school system. I find that very ironic.
Now to address the Muslim sentiments and the Islamic sentiments that are being shared here by the Sheriff’s Department. One thing our American community needs to understand, in the eyes of Muslims, the God of Allah, the God of Islam, the God of Muhammad to them is also the same God of Moses, and of Abraham, and of Isaac and Jacob. The God who created heaven and earth, the God who created Adam and Eve, in their minds, they’re all talking of the same God. Every Muslim usually starts this conversation with me when I talk about my faith and their faith, “Oh, well, we have the same God.”
And I respond with this: “Oh, wonderful. That’s great. So then your god has a son?” Then they get this confused or mean look on their face: “No, for Allah hath no son.” Then I say, “Oh, well then we don’t have the same God because my God, Jehovah God, has a begotten son, Jesus Christ. So clearly we do not have the same God.”
But the point that they’re trying to make is that putting God first is that they’re trying to say, “We’re going to put Allah first. We’re going to keep your sons, your Muslim sons out of jail. We’re going to protect them.” And, yeah, it is kind of concerning that he’s addressing the Muslim community with this message.
Gary Dull: You know, Tom, for nine minutes, I say nine tragic minutes, we know that none of the Broward County police on the scene there at Stoneman Douglas entered the school building as kids and teachers were basically sitting ducks and being massacred. Then for 29 minutes, one of those police officers didn’t enter, but told the others to “Stay 500 feet away” from the building where the shooting was actually occurring.
And I know many people have asked this question, but I ask you what in the world is going on here? Why are Islamic police officers unable to really swear allegiance to the United States of America, to US law and really protect United States citizens?
Tom Wallace: Now, Brother Dull, you have just raised a very interesting question. I believe that’s probably the most powerful question that should be asked: Can we trust Muslims to be loyal to the laws of America and also remain loyal to the tenants of Islam? Is that possible? My answer to that question is a resounding no. Absolutely not. If they’re going to be a loyal, faithful Muslim, they cannot be loyal and faithful to the laws of America because Islam will not permit it. They have a system that is an antithesis to the system of America. We cherish freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom to choose who you worship, or not worship at all. Islam does not give that permission at all.
We get to choose who governs you. Islam doesn’t give that choice. Those choice and those rights, well, they’re not rights. They are things that you do not have rights to in Islamic form of a system. And so when Muslims swear allegiance to the Bible or rather to the American Constitution, to protect it, they’re either lying, or they are not a faithful Muslim, and I think that it’s that they’re lying to us. I think that’s been demonstrated time and time again.
Dave Kistler: Tom, what you’re sharing is very important information. It’s very disturbing. And ladies and gentlemen, there’s something about the Parkland shooting that makes no sense at all to me. It’s beyond odd that the heavily Islam-friendly, Islamic-infiltrated police force in Broward did nothing to stop the shooting for nine minutes or longer.
Ladies and gentlemen, this woman’s name you may or may not have heard. Her name is Barbara Sharief. In fact, her full name is Barbara Muhammad Sharief. And she is an American politician. In fact, she has been a Broward County, Florida, commissioner since 2010. And in 2016 she was reappointed as mayor of Broward County, having previously served from 2013 to 2014. And she’s the country’s first African-American female and Muslim mayor. You’re hearing me correctly.
In the same county where Stoneman Douglass high school is that has a very Islamic-friendly police department in the form of Scott Israel, the police chief and Nezar Hamze, the deputy police chief, who is a committed Muslim, member of the organization we’re talking about today called CAIR, Council on American-Islamic Relations, the mayor of Broward County is also a Muslim.
Now, why am I bringing that up? Friends, if you know anything about London, England, you know that Sadiq Khan is a Muslim mayor in that city of London, and he has clear ties to terrorists–that is a documented fact. It was him who after the killing of 22 innocents at an Ariana Grande concert said the following: “We are going to have to get used to terrorism.” In other words, terrorism in London, terrorism in England, terrorism in the United Kingdom, it’s the new normal, something with which we’re going to have to become accustomed.
So, Tom, I want to go to you. You’ve sighted this earlier in the program in segment one that you left the United Kingdom as a missionary there to come back to the United States of America to warn our nation, specifically to warn the church in America about a diabolical, sinister, demonic enemy. So my question is this: Why are Muslim mayors, Muslim law enforcement official, Muslim City Council members, why do people that are committed to Islamic ideology in those positions, why do they present to America an incredibly dangerous dilemma?
Tom Wallace: Well, can I bring your attention to a document that was found by the FBI back in 2011? It was a document that was written by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ikhwan. And it was found, the FBI found this in the home of Ismail Elbarasse back in 2011. He is a teacher or was a teacher in Virginia. The FBI became suspicious of him. I won’t get into background of this story of that, but they raided his home and found in his basement a secret room. And in that room was a cache of documents and media.
The prized piece of document that they found was a memorandum from the Muslim Brotherhood to the group in North America. Let me read to you from Page 7: “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western Civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house.” Now get this: “by their hands and the hands of the believers.” So what are they saying in this document from the Muslim Brotherhood? “We’re going to create a Jihad–Jihad is a holy war, a struggle against evil–“to eliminate Western Civilization.” How? “From within.” How are you going to do it? “Sabotage their house by their hands.”
We’re going to incorporate their own hands, their own system, and the hands of the believers. And on the back page it lists about 14 different groups that were complicit, that were working with the Muslim Brotherhood as front groups here. Now, the FBI has used this document as a court piece of evidence in the trial, what we call the Holy Land Fund Trial, in Dallas, Texas. During the Bush administration they were starting to put these people away in jail.
When Obama became president and Eric Holder became the new attorney general, he stopped that, and CAIR and ISNA and a number of these other groups there were designated as unindicted co-conspirators. They were getting around to prosecute these people, but they never got to it because of Eric Holder. And we need to press our current attorney general Sessions to reopen that case. All that there is waiting to be done, but that’s another issue.
Now let me return to this judge. They are putting key people in government, judges, mayors, police chiefs. They are jockeying for these positions. They’re training for these positions. And in England, in the United Kingdom, there are four hijab centers. I lived just two to three miles from one, and they are organized to train bankers, politicians, teachers, and they’re working to develop these people to get into government positions. This has been going on in the United Kingdom for since the time I’ve been exposing this and talking about this. And this is also operating here in America. I don’t know where they’re located. They’re a little bit more careful in hiding these locations of where they’re training these people.
Actually, I think they’re training them right underneath our nose in our institutions and setting them up because they’re being funded by CAIR, by Muslim Brotherhood, and they’re wealthy because we keep buying Saudi oil. So we’re funding our own demise. I know I sound like a conspirator, or talking about conspiracies and stuff there, but, folks, this is happening, and we’d better wake up to it.
Gary Dull: You know, I think this is a thing that we need to wake up to, Tom. It almost appears to me is that the average American is either blind about what Islam is doing or doesn’t want to understand what Islam is doing. And I wonder what the thought is among those who are leaders in our nation. You mentioned the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, that he needed to look into this again. Will he? Does he understand what is going on within Islam?
And as we understand it, Tom, it appears as though for years Islam has been working on infiltrating into government here in the United States of America on every level. So this isn’t anything new, as I understand it. It is something that’s been going on for a long, long time. And then to hear that statement that you rendered here a moment ago where they’ve written regarding us that they will sabotage their house by their own hands, that is critical.
And so my question to you is this: What about those who say we, those of us who are concerned about Islam, are overeating, or are just Islamophobic, or are crying wolf? How do you answer those critics who refuse to see what really is going on in front of our own faces?
Tom Wallace: I remind them of how people reacted to Winston Churchill when he was trying to warn Britain about the bully, the tyrant of Hitler, that they ought to pay attention to him, that appeasement is the wrong move. It’s only going to give him time to get stronger, and they need to deal with him. They need to put that down. But they didn’t listen. They thought he was a crazed man, a crazed [inaudible 00:26:52] go away and just let’s just create an environment of peace as much as we can. And it doesn’t work. Appeasing a bully never works. It never has worked. Historically we can see that it’s dangerous. And many people died as a result because they didn’t listen to Winston Churchill earlier. And there were other people that tried to warn, but they didn’t listen to him.
And we have a new bully on the block. Back in the ’40s it was Nazism, it was Hitler. Today it is Islam, and they are infiltrating here. The thing that’s an advantage for Islam is that it’s fashioned, it’s designed under the face of a religion. So therefore it has rights to be practices here, and they can send their apostles around our country to spread their poison and to work their destruction from within. And the Muslim Brotherhood realized that. That’s why they, I believe, I’ve been saying the Muslim Brotherhood is the most dangerous terrorist organization on the face of the earth because they have identified our weakness, and they’re exploiting it. And we’re asleep at the wheel.
So far our government has not called the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. There’s a bill H.R.377, House Resolution 377, that the 115th Congress has put out there. It has a lot of co-sponsors there to get this bill out of committee and get it on the floor to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Can you believe it, that our own country will not designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization when other countries have? That blows my mind.
Dave Kistler: Tom, let me jump in. We have about 45 seconds until we’re going to have to go to the break. I want to ask you this and ask you to respond very quickly. Obviously the Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim entities are strong opponents of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. They are fighting to get guns out of the hands of the general American populous. Talk about that for just a second, why it’s so important that we stand up and defend the Second Amendment because of the threat Islam poses.
Tom Wallace: Every tyrannical government knows you cannot operate if the citizens are armed. You have to disarm the citizens if you’re going to control them with a dictatorship type of government, and that’s the Islamic way. The Islamic government is a dictatorship. It always has been. That’s what Muhammad gave them, and that’s why they practice the very same thing in their governments. You cannot have that if the citizens are armed, if they can fight back. And so naturally, yeah, it’s in their interest to see us disarmed, so they’re going to oppose the Second Amendment because the Second Amendment keeps us safe.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today. I want to say this at the outset of this critically important final segment of our program today, in fact, it’s a segment we commonly call our solution segment, and I want to say this: Our discussion today is not meant to foster hatred for anyone. Our topic today is not directed primarily at people. We are addressing an ideology today that is beyond dangerous. Yes, adherents to that ideology have done, and are doing, and will continue to do very evil things, but we are to love those who are enslaved in any false ideology, including and I would say even especially the false ideology of Islam. These folks that are adherents to it have been enslaved by a deception. They have been lied to, and the only way they’re every going to be delivered from that deception is if we love them enough to tell them to truth and declare to them the glorious, life-changing, eternity-altering gospel of Jesus Christ.
But the ideology that they’re espousing itself is evil. I think Dr. Franklin Graham said it as well as it could be said when he called many years ago Islam an evil religion, and it is precisely that. It is an evil religion. I am not the least bit reticent to say that. Gary is not the least bit reticent to acknowledge that. Tom as an Islamic scholar is not the least bit hesitant to call Islam from an ideological standpoint precisely what it is: a deception, a lie, an evil ideology.
And so, Tom, I want to go to you. Obviously America has to deal with this evil ideology. It’s anti-God. When I say “anti-God,” I’m talking about the true God. It’s certainly anti-American. It’s anti-constitutional. And so in very practical terms, Tom, what can be done? What must be done in the United States of America to deal with this vicious snake that is making its inroads in rapid fashion across the United States of America?
Tom Wallace: First of all, let me say, Dave, thank you for making that point that this is not to bash Muslims. America needs to understand they need to separate Islam from the Muslim. Please do not blame the Muslim for Islam. The Muslim is a victim of Islam. I have been saying this for years, and I’m just as passionate about us resisting Islam as I am about rescuing Muslims.
Muslims are victims. It’s an ideology that’s going to send these people to hell. They need the truth, and praise God we as Christians, we have the answer: It’s the word of God. And if we can only a Muslim into the Bible, and I’ve seen it happen so many times, that if we get them reading the scriptures with us, and they realize that they’ve been lied to, and they see the light of the scriptures, and they come to Christ. And so I’m also the founder of Missions to Muslims. I am as actively about trying to evangelize Muslims as I am actively trying to resist the ideology of Islam and warn people of it. What’s the real solution? A Holy Ghost revival in our country.
Gary Dull: Amen.
Tom Wallace: I have been trying to tell Americans that God is raising up Islam as an instrument of judgment upon us because of our sin. We have sinned against God. He have angered God. We’re foolish to think that we can continue in our wicked living here and expect God to wink at it and look the other way, and continue to sing God Bless America in spite of our wicked sin.
Folks, God is angered and God is raising up our destruction if we do not repent. I believe that Islam is the very element that will bring us to our knees and destroy us, and bring us to humble ourselves and repent if we … But we can volunteer to do that. We can admit, “God we were wrong. We have foolishly thought that we could run our own ship without you. And we need to fall on our knees and repent.” And I believe God is bringing us and showing us destruction is coming our way if we continue, but we refuse to see it.
Dave Kistler: Gary, let me do this, because that is a take on this entire topic that you very seldom, in fact I don’t know if I’ve ever really heard it worded quite like Tom worded it, but with his statement, I completely concur, and I could tell you did as well because you uttered an Amen. The answer to this entire dilemma is nothing less than revival in the United States of America. And I believe Tom is 100% correct. I think Islam is part of God’s judgment on America, is God allowing us to have what we have desired to have independent of him. And that is we’ve tried to live our lives arrogantly, very superficially, to be sure, in violent disregard of him, and so this is the consequence.
So if revival, Gary, is the answer, and I’m firmly convinced it is, you are a pastor. What must take place inside the church? What must take place from the pulpits of America to facilitate, or if I could use this phrase, “fan the flame” of a revival in America? What must they place inside the church and especially from the pulpit?
Gary Dull: Dave, there’s no doubt that we need revival in America today, and I know that it disgusts you as well as it does me, and I’m sure Tom also when you hear some Evangelicals saying, “There will never be another revival in this nation.” I don’t like that. I think there could be another revival in America, and I think we need to pray for that.
But revival is simply defined as when God’s people get right with God. Think about that, ladies and gentlemen. It’s when God’s people get right with God. There are so many things going on in the lives of born-again believers that are godless, that are secular, that are worldly. We talk often on this program about the authority of the scripture.
So often the word of God is not the authority in the lives of individual Christians. We need to get back to the word of God. Now, what is that going to take? It’s going to take, #1, preachers making sure that their pulpits are on fire with the truth of the word of God. Secondly, it’s going to take making certain that every one of us allow the word of God to work effectively in our lives.
Thirdly, it’s going to mean we must be willing to repent of those things that have taken us away from biblical truth and get back to understanding who God is, what God expects, and how God operates. And I know that may seem like a simple formula, but that will be a formula that will bring us back to revival where God’s people get right with God.
It could very well be that God is judging America through Islam. We’ve often said too that he’s judging America through the rise of homosexuality. He could be judging America through abortion. Listen, it’s all around us. God’s judgment is there. It’s time for the Church of Jesus Christ to wake up.
Dave Kistler: Tom, before we exit the program, and we have just about a minute before we’re going to have to leave the air, but I want you to just give our listeners the information they need as to where they can go to find out more about Fortress of Faith as well as this new venture in which you are involved, and that’s called Missions to Muslims. Talk about that, if you would, very quickly.
Tom Wallace: Our radio broadcast site is fortressoffaith.com. We just launched an app just for Android phones. Just right now we are trying to get into the iPhone market, and so people can listen to our daily 15-minute program. I cover the issues that’s going on. And basically what I’m trying to do alert people and show you why God is raising up Islam as an instrument of judgment and how we need to repent, and how we need to resist Islam. Yeah, there’s a political side. Don’t just stand there and weep over it. Do your bid to try to fight it. But the biggest thing we need to do is fall to our knees, folks. We need to repent. Then we need to rescue Muslims, and that’s missionstomuslims.com.
Sam Rohrer: Well today is Good Friday. In just two more days we’re going to celebrate Easter Sunday. Did you know that the actual days that Jesus was crucified and rose from the grave were actually earlier this week? That’s right. According to the Jewish calendar Christ has already risen and it’s tied directly to the observance of the Jewish Passover. The question is should Christians, therefore, know about the Passover? And since the Jewish Passover historically preceded Easter, what should Christians know about Passover? What messages or pictures did God actually design into the Passover so Jews and Christians alike would look to and recognize the redeemer of the world.
We’re going to talk about this today on Stand in the Gap Today, and to help us better understand the richness, really, truly, the richness of the Passover, and what God wants us to know about Himself because of it, with purpose that we as Christians can learn from it and better help to share the gospel with not only gentiles but particularly our Jewish friends. We’re going to invite in a special guest today to Stand in the Gap Today our messianic Jewish evangelist, JB Bernstein, founder of Gates of Zion. First, let me welcome each of you to Stand in the Gap Today this Good Friday. I’m Sam Rohrer, and I’m going to be joined today by Pastor Isaac Crocket. Isaac, thank you for being on the program with me today on this Good Friday. I know that you’re busy at your church. So thanks for being on board here with me.
Isaac Crockett: Thank for having me, Sam.
Sam Rohrer: With that, Isaac, I’m going to welcome in official now, JB Bernstein. JB, good to have you with us today.
JB Bernstein: Hi Sam. Hi Isaac. Glad to be with you guys.
Sam Rohrer: I tell ya, ladies and gentlemen, you don’t know this, but JB is actually calling in from Friday and just literally, literally moments before we went on the air someone ran into the back of his vehicle. He’s in his car. He’s going to be able to talk to us, but we just prayed and thanked the Lord for protection for him. Sometimes the devil works against things, ladies and gentlemen. I want you to know that. So I think today’s going to be a special day even though the devil tried to stop this effort here. JB, I want you to start right out. Take just a couple of minutes please. Tell us about your message as a messianic Jewish evangelist. You have started an entity called the Gates of Zion, but I specifically want you just to answer here briefly whom do you primarily share the good news of Jesus Christ with? Are you an evangelist in primarily gentiles or Jewish people or both? Just tell us a little bit about your mission as a messianic evangelist.
JB Bernstein: My call from God is to bring the truth of the messiah back to the very people He first came to, and from whom salvation comes. As the Lord said, salvation is from the Jews. Many Christians don’t realize that only less than 1% of Jewish people actually know the Lord, and these were the very people who He first came to, and part of what God has called me to do is to bring this message to Jewish people so they see that the gospel is a Jewish message to the Jewish people about the Jewish messiah and also to help Christians understand that they are called by God to bring the message that came to them from the Jewish people back to the Jewish people.
One of the places where I minister in Norway, they call it Return to Sender. It’s a very crucial thing, and it’s very much part of God’s heart who to this day is broken over His own people. He prayed over only one city recorded in the scripture, Jerusalem, and I believe He continues to pray and weeps also over that city. He wept over that city back then, and I’m convinced He’s weeping over that city now and he wants to equip and release His people throughout the body to bring that message of light back to the people from whom it first came.
Sam Rohrer: JB, this is a great setup. The theme I’m entitling this program here today is The Hidden Meaning of Passover: What Every Christian Should Know. And that’s what we’re going to go into. Let’s go immediately right now to the focus of this program today, Passover week. Now today is Good Friday. Easter’s just in a couple of days. These are some of the most important days in the Christian and Jewish calendar, JB, but most people, I think anyways, don’t know the rich meaning and the connection between Passover and Easter. Since Passover was begun a long time before Easter, but it’s directly connected to it. Give us a bit of history about the Passover. When did it begin? Why is it so important to the Jewish people and the nation of Israel?
JB Bernstein: Well, understand this. When Jesus, who we call by His original Hebrew name, Yeshua, when He was here in the land of Israel in the first century during his whole life He celebrated Passover. He never heard of Easter. There was no such thing. During Passover, Passover might be the most ancient celebration perhaps in all history. Passover has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. Every single year, year after year, Jewish families have come together on the exact same time, which is on the evening of the 14th day of the first month of the year. So you see we are actually in the first month of the biblical calendar, which today is called the month of Nissan and on the 14th day, which is the middle of the month the moon is full.
So on Monday when Jews all over the world celebrated Passover, the moon was full, and that is when the Passover was celebrated. Now, the very first Passover and every subsequent Passover is all about the lamb who is slain before the foundation of the world and that is why when Yeshua, when Jesus celebrated and observed Passover He read about the hidden meaning of it to His disciples. Again, Jewish people who believe in Him we celebrate Passover, which again was on Monday on the full moon and that is the day that the Passover lamb was sacrificed and he was sacrificed.
Sam Rohrer: JB, tremendous, tremendous. Ladies and gentlemen, we are focusing today, because it’s Good Friday on the meaning of Good Friday and looking at the Passover. Our general theme, The Hidden Meaning of Passover: What Every Christian Should Know. Our special guest, JB Bernstein is a messianic Jewish evangelist and founder of The Gates of Zion. When we come back right after this break Isaac Crockett and I will continue with our special guest, JB, How the Passover Seder meal revealed the Redeemer.
Welcome back ladies and gentlemen to this Good Friday special program here on Stand in the Gap Today. With me today is Pastor Isaac Crockett and our special guest, JB Bernstein. He’s a messianic Jewish evangelist and founder of The Gates of Zion where you can go there to that website, GatesofZion.net and see what he has there. Our theme today is The Hidden Meaning of Passover: What Every Christian Should Know. We had a little bit of a history in the last segment. In this next segment here today we’re going to talk about the Seder meal. JB, you have conducted many Seder meals. I was privileged to be a part of one that you led a couple of years ago, and I can tell you I was really blessed by that as we sat there on the ground in that building and you led through that entire process.
I’d like in this segment here if we could to go about explaining to our listeners what the Seder meal is all about, why it’s conducted, what it means to the Jews and to Christians alike. So let me start right off with this very short question to you first and then Isaac will come back and for you. In brief terms, what is the Seder meal, when is it observed, and why is it before we get into the meaning of it. So what is the Seder meal, when’s it observed, and why?
JB Bernstein: The Seder meal is the first of what are called the Moadim in Hebrew, the appointed times. So the first day, the 14th of Nissan which was last Monday is the Passover and then the next day is the feast of unleavened bread. The Seder meal is a meal that we remember what happened on the last plague that God sent to compel Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go or in bondage for 400 years. He had sent 10 plagues and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened after each one. Each of the plagues are intricately also judgments against the god’s of Egypt. For example, the Egyptians worshiped the sun god and so God sent the plague of darkness as an example.
The last plague, which was the most terrible is Pharaoh was considered god and so his son was also considered god and so the last plague was the terrible plague of the death of the firstborn, but what Israel was commanded to do was take a lamb without spot or blemish, a male, and to slaughter that lamb and the blood would be put in a basin and then they would take the blood and apply it to the door post and the top of the door post called the lentil of the door and when that final plague was unleashed the blood would cause death to pass over the home that had the blood applied.
You see, the reason why Christians would be greatly enriched in this and understanding the Seder meal is because that blood is also the blood, it was the blood of the Passover lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world. So the Lord Jesus, Yeshua, He not only fulfilled the Passover, but He is the Passover, and by His blood we, death passes over us today. Actually, in John 5:24 it says, “He who hears my word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment. The judgment of death does not fall upon him, but he passes over from death to life. And so understanding the Seder meal and all of the details of it is a blueprint. Hidden in it is a design in the sense just like the creation, there is an intelligent design that is shouting out that the Messiah has come, He is the Passover, He has died, He has been raised from the dead and it’s all in the Passover. I could go on and on. As you can see, I’m excited about talking about it because it is pure revelation from heaven.
Isaac Crockett: JB, this is exciting hearing about this and to see this in enrichment as we see the context unfolded for us especially a lot of us as Christians oftentimes don’t either understand or maybe don’t even study the old testament as we should. As we see this observance of the Passover, the Seder, we see the richness of this illustration that God has enriched us by giving this to us as well as other feasts in the old testament. These are pictures that show us God’s plan for Israel. It’s already, as you said, revealing His plan of redemption through Yeshua. Could you just explain, then, some of these major elements of the Seder meal then kind of walk us through how these elements point us to God’s plan of redemption.
JB Bernstein: Even before Passover we’re commanded to remove all leaven. Everything that has yeast from the house. That’s really where we get spring cleaning from. Getting rid of the leaven and the typology of leaven is leaven is figurative for sin. So we get rid of all sin, all known offenses against God. We put it away. Get rid of all malice, all anger, evil conduct, get it out of you. So we remove leaven, the physical leaven, but it speaks of removing sin out of our lives and repenting and getting rid of it. So that begins the Passover Seder and then Matzah itself unleavened bread, if you look at it closely it is striped, it is pierced, and it is reminiscent of the Messiah Himself who was pierced. “They pierced my hands and my feet.” In Zechariah it says, “When he returns,” it says, “They will look upon him who they have pierced.” So the Messiah is the pierced one. He is the unleavened bread. “Unleavened” meaning, He had no sin. So this is the feast of unleavened bread and Yeshua himself said, “I am the bread of life.”
This is the kind of bread He was talking about. He was talking about unleavened bread. When you are able to participate and experience Passover, you see this more clearly. Also an incredible thing is that Jewish people throughout the world, there is something called a Matzatash, which has three pieces of Matzah in it. Three slices of unleavened bread and it is a tradition to take the middle piece, break it in half, wrap it in a cloth and then bury it during the Seder meal. It’s amazing. Jewish people do this throughout the whole world for centuries, have no idea why they’re doing it, and so it gets buried at the end of meal. The children look for it, search for it, and it gets taken up away and then it is shared by all.
That is called the Afikoman. It’s the only Greek term in the Passover Seder and interestingly it’s meaning is it’s “what comes after” or “He who comes.” When Yeshua, when Jesus took that bread he said, “This is my body broken for you. Eat of it.” So the Afikoman, the piece of Matzah that is wrapped in a sense, in linen, in cloth, buried, it’s raised up at the end and divided among the family speaks so clearly of the body of Messiah, and that’s just one of the elements during the Seder meal.
Sam Rohrer: JB, I’m listening and I’m overwhelmed because I can see the picture. Jewish people, as you say, have been doing this for thousands of years, 3,000 years.
JB Bernstein: 3,000. Yeah. Over 3,500 years. Yes.
Sam Rohrer: What is a Jewish person looking for? The way you describe it, it is so clear of the picture of the Messiah who has come. Why isn’t that connection made in more people’s lives and their understanding?
JB Bernstein: I think it’s multi-faceted. I think one of the reasons has to do with a great need for the body of Christ to repent over the centuries, even almost 2,000 years of a really anti-Semitic spirit, attitude in the church where the Jews … You see, the gospel, this is very in for it. The gospel to Jewish people for the last 2,000 years-
Sam Rohrer: JB, JB. Hold that right now. We’re going go right into that in the next segment. Ladies and gentlemen, you’re listening to a special Good Friday emphasis here on Stand in the Gap Today, The Hidden Meaning of Passover: What Every Christian Should Know, our special guest, JB Bernstein, messianic Jewish evangelist as Isaac Crockett and I are walking through the meaning of Passover. Just as JB was heading that way, right there we’re going to come back after the break and we’re going to talk about how understanding the Passover should better motivate Christians how to witness to Jewish people.
We’re going to go forward now here. JB Bernstein, you were talking just before the break. You were talking about the meaning of the Seder and how it really should motivate us as Christians, and I want to go into this matter here now with you. Jewish families observe this wonderful tradition. They look towards the Messiah, and I was asking you the question of why is it that more don’t really understand that the Messiah has come. They’re still anticipating that Jesus, the Messiah will come. Now, I know that you have a real love for your Jewish people and so do I. I know Isaac does too and actually has some of his family in the past have had ministries to Jewish people. We know that that’s an important thing, and we rejoice in the fact that because Christ came that we, speaking of me and Isaac as well, as Gentiles have now become a part of the spiritual commonwealth of Israel.
We’re joint heirs with Jesus Christ a phenomenal, phenomenal thing. I think sometimes we too often take that for granted. Let me start out with you right now. Could you share with our Christian listeners, primarily on this program how that better understanding the Passover of the Seder meal you just walked through and this time of year in particular should help us be more effective in our witnessing to our Jewish friends. Kind of lay it down. You were going down that road of priority of the message of the gospel to Jewish people. Build that out a little bit if you could.
JB Bernstein: What I was saying, brothers, mostly the gospel to Jewish people for the last 2,000 years has tragically been, “Be baptized or we will kill you.” It’s almost like this. When Jewish people read Moses, the Word of God says that a veil lies over their minds. Well, my discovery ever since my eyes were opened about 40 years ago is that when Christians, most Christians, not all, read Paul there’s a similar veil that lies over their minds because they don’t really see that Jesus lived his entire life in the land of Israel, and all of His apostles were Jewish, and all of His disciples were Jewish, and that they celebrated Passover. They never knew about Easter. They celebrated the feast of dedication or Hanukah, not His birthday.
They celebrated all of the feasts of the Lord. They met at the temple. They went into the synagogues on Saturday, on the Sabbath. And so what was a Jewish culture has changed to what today is a foreign culture to Jewish people, and so in a sense Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah, has become a foreigner. Even the biblical account when we read the gospel we see that the people flocked to Him. The leaders of the Pharisees were very careful what they did with Him because they feared the people. Well, it wasn’t that they feared Indians or Chinese people, they were fearing the people of Israel, because the people of Israel were thrilled. He was famous in Israel. I believe God has called me and you to make Him famous in Israel once again.
By Christians understanding things like the Passover and being able to explain to Jewish people that, “Hey, I have become part of the covenant that God made with your people. I love and I serve your God. I worship your God. I read your book.” You see, the Jewish people have never heard that. They have been told, “You need to convert to our religion. You need to become one of us when that is not biblical. Because Christians, just like you mentioned, become part of the commonwealth of Israel. They are grafted onto the olive tree, which is their tree. The Jewish people are the natural branches. Those who were not born Jewish are wild branches grafted onto a cultivated olive tree. The Passover is such a striking example of the riches of that olive tree that are not really … Christians are not being nourished by it because they’ve bypassed it and yet, as you can see it’s so rich.
Isaac Crockett: That gives some great perspective, JB. It helps us really understanding this context around it, and you’ve really helped this emphasize this theme that Sam started out with about the hidden meaning of Passover. It’s interesting that it’s oftentimes hidden to us as Christians, but like you said, even the understanding of Paul and his explanations in the New Testament is hidden oftentimes to the Jewish people, that they don’t realize that Jesus did come and fulfill this. Of course, on your website, Gates of Zion, there’s so many good tips and helpful things, but as a gentile believer who, as you said, were part of this commonwealth through Christ, do we need to be afraid to try to witness to Jewish people? Are we less effective because we’re not Jewish when we’re witnessing to our Jewish friends?
JB Bernstein: It’s quite the opposite. Most Jewish people have come to faith through the witness of a gentile who’s made a decision to love Jewish people by blessing them and what is the greatest blessing that you can give to a Jewish person? Salvation. So, no. It’s the opposite of that. Gentiles, those who were not born Jewish need to understand and learn and the Apostle Paul said it clearly, “To the Jew I became as a Jew.” So to understand how to communicate to a Jewish person, that’s what my website is designed for. It used to be about my ministry.
Instead, now, it is an equipping portal designed to help Christians understand how to speak to Jewish people in their own language, through their own culture that it is their messiah who has come, and that it’s impossible that Jesus, that Yeshua, is not the Messiah and anyone that desires truth amongst the Jewish people can see that if they are gently drawn to consider these things and recognize that they don’t need to convert. In fact, the Jewish people are the only people group that do not need to convert to another religion. They need to get back to where they once belonged, as the Beatles once sang.
Isaac Crockett: That is so helpful. Like I said earlier, it gives a different perspective that many of us aren’t really looking for, but we see this now as you explain it, that it gives an option, an impact to have with our unsaved loved ones, maybe our Jewish and the really, like you said, they don’t have to convert because that’s what Jesus, He came as Jewish. My grandfather, he just recently moved in with my aunt and uncle, but for the last 10 years he lived in a retirement community that was run by Jewish people, it’s for Jewish people. He is a survivor of the Holocaust, was part of the Dutch underground, and he came to know the Lord, but also came to have a great respect for Jewish people during his time in the Dutch underground.
It has been neat to see what you’re talking about. I found myself talking to Jewish people that there is, I think, in me an innate fear that, “Oh no. I’m an outsider. I’m a foreigner,” but to remember that Jesus Christ came and He fulfilled the law. Are there any points that we should take? Any, maybe, scripture passages that would be good for us in remembering when we’re talking to a Jewish person?
JB Bernstein: On my website, www.GatesofZion.net I have an ebook that I wrote. It’s for free. Going on, you just need to give your email address and your name and it is sent to you by email, a link so you can have it for free. It’s called Five Steps to Provoke Jewish People to Jealousy. Yes, there is a way to really make Jewish people jealous because really as Christians have the inheritance of Israel. I teach in the little ebook I say, “When you approach a Jewish person, what you’re saying to them is, “I love, I worship, I serve your God. I am part of the covenant God made with your people.” And thanking them for the bible also speaks volumes.
Sam Rohrer: JB Bernstein, tremendous, tremendous information. I tell you, my heart is really touched. I have had a love for Jewish people for a long time, and I will tell you, understanding these things that you are saying makes it so very, very, very, very rich. I hope ladies and gentlemen that you are enjoying the program today. When we come back after the next segment we’re going to go and wrap this up and I’m going to ask the question, if there were no Jewish people, think about it, we’d have no resurrection. Think about that. We’re going to talk about what we should walk away from really understanding.
As we wrap up today’s program here on this Good Friday edition of Stand in the Gap Today, we’ve been blessed to have our special guest, JB Bernstein. He is a messianic evangelist, and also the founder of the Gates of Zion, which you can go to. A lot of good information three. GatesofZion.net is where you can find that. JB, as we wrap up the program, I have to say it again, it’s been a real blessing to have you on. The insights that I learned from Jewish people about what the bible says and particularly those who have come to faith in Yeshua is just an amazing thing. It’s rich, rich, rich.
If I could ask you, though, JB as we wrap this thing up here today, if there is one vital connection between the Passover, which the world is gonna be observing in just a day or two, what would be that one most important connection do you think that Christian people would remember about Passover as we are about now to celebrate Easter?
JB Bernstein: I just wanted to say one thing. On the Passover plate, which has the matza, one of the things is a bone. The bone reminds us of the Passover and the amazing thing is that when the Passover lamb was eaten you can read in Exodus that they were to eat it in haste. They were to eat to consume the whole and not to break a bone. How interesting was it when the Lord was crucified that the soldiers went over to the first and there were two thieves that were crucified with him, they broke the bones of the first, but when they went to the messiah, they saw he was already dead and they did not break any of his bones and this fulfilled the Word of God, “Not a bone should be broken of the Passover lamb.”
So here is death of the Messiah including the way He died and even the actual event where His bones were not broken relating right to the Passover lamb that was slaughtered right before Israel left Egypt before the plague of the death of the firstborn. That, to me, it just shows the intricate design of God in this feast to bear witness and the prophetic clarity of what it was speaking about so much so that when the Lord appeared, the prophet who ( actually there was an actual empty chair for Elijah at the Passover Seder because Elijah is tied up with the coming of the Messiah) was Elijah and Yeshua said John or Elijah who is to come and he announces him, his first words when he saw Yeshua is “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Isn’t that absolutely amazing?
Sam Rohrer: Oh it is. It is. It is. Isaac.
Isaac Crockett: Yes. It’s so amazing to hear how you describe this as Christians looking at this we see all of this coming into fruition. We see all the connections just as you’ve explained it through Passover, and it’s so wonderful to have knowledge. As we look at this Passover feast and we realize that understanding it, having the context of it makes a powerful impact on what we do as Christians on our belief and our understanding of Jesus, what He came to fulfill. We remember that the Passover is not the only feast that is celebrated. And there are many feasts on the Jewish calendar. Would you maybe take a little bit of time to tell us some of the things that are coming up next on the calendar and what we should, as believers in Jesus Christ be looking forward to with those.
JB Bernstein: Amazingly, yesterday, Wednesday was first fruits. In other words, the Lord rose on the third day, yesterday was the third day and that is the feast called first fruits, of course He is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. So He rose from the dead on first fruits and now 50 days from the Sabbath following Passover, Christians know it as Pentecost and that’s when the Holy Spirit fell. So you see everything about the light of Jesus, of the Messiah, has to do with one of the feasts of the Lord. So the Lord is crucified on Passover, He is raised from the death on the Feast of first fruits. The Holy Spirit falls on Pentecost and then the next feast prophetically that has not taken place yet is the feast of trumpets.
And we know that the Lord will descend with the blast of the trumpet. So on the prophetic calendar all of the feasts of the Lord is fulfilled in Him. And so we’re waiting now. One of these feasts of trumpets, the day of the blowing of the trumpet of, not only of the trumpets, of the shout. And it says the Lord will descend with a shout. As I talk about this, it just excites me because it is so prophetic and it’s all about Him and He said, “My words are spirit and light,” and all of these feasts are the Word of God and He is the Word of God so He is all the feasts. So you can just go deeper and deeper with these realities.
Sam Rohrer: JB, I’ll tell you, my eyes tear. I’m thrilled to my heart by this. We’re going to have to close the program now. And you’re right. We could go much further. But I would like for you to pray here in the last remaining 45 seconds or whatever. Pray for the people of Israel. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for God’s people to have a greater burden for his people and for those who are not yet saved. Could you do that please for us?
JB Bernstein: …In the Father of the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob we ask you to open the eyes of Israel and to open the eyes of your church, of Christians, so that they begin to fulfill what you spoke about in Romans 11:11 and in fact that evangelism takes on the pattern that Paul said that, “I’m not ashamed of this gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, but to the Jew first.” Lord, restore that pattern. Fulfill Romans 11:11 and cause Christians to start making Jewish people jealous and Lord we ask you to open the eyes of Israel, Lord God. Give them dreams, visions. Bring them home. Bring them home into your arms in the mighty name of Yeshua, Jesus the Kind of Glory. Amen and Amen.
Sam Rohrer: Amen and amen. Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being with us on this special Good Friday program, the Passover and what it means. I pray that as each of you go forward now to the balance of this day and into Easter weekend remember the Passover. Yeshua has come. The next point is He’s going to come back with the shout of the trumpet. Be ready for that.
The American Pastors Network radio program, Stand in the Gap Today, will feature guest William J. Parker, founder of Biblically Responsible Investing most Friday’s to discuss Christian stewardship. The name of this program is Money Mission Friday and can be heard from 12-1pm EST. To listen LIVE click here.
We view the concept of Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) as investing that seeks to please and glorify God as a vital act of worship. In an effort to worship God through the investment selection, BRI is an investment decision making process that applies Christian values to issues facing shareholders and stakeholders regarding moral, environmental, social, corporate governance, and applicable Biblical principles. This coupled with traditional financial analysis provides a platform for investment decisions that allows us to view our role as stewards of God’s gifts to us and also respect the foundational beliefs of our shared Christian faith. There are a variety of terms used by investors and funds that describe this same concept. Among them are: Faith Based Investing, Values Investing, Christian Values Investing, Morally Responsible Investing, Stewardship Investing, and many others. (www.briinvesting.com)
William J. Parker is the Chief Executive Officer of GrandView Asset Management, a firm which offers fee based money management headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The firm has been family run since 1962. William is also the Chief Executive Officer of GrandView 401k Advisors. Grandview 401k Advisors is an independent consulting firm that creates qualified and nonqualified retirement programs. GrandView 401k Advisors sets itself apart by educating the business owners as well as the employees so they may retire successfully.
With over three decades of experience, William Parker understands the gamut of investments, markets, and services that are available to help individuals, families, and businesses plan for their financial needs. He understands the various vehicles, both qualified and non-qualified, available to help businesses structure benefit plans in order to retain current employees as well as attract and recruit new employees.
William served as the Mayor of Paxtang from 2000 to 2004. William is the host of an investment radio program on WHP-580 every Saturday morning from 6 to 7 am. William expanded to Clear Channels stations in both Harrisburg and the Lancaster market place in March of 2011.
He is the father of five children, three of whom are living with Fragile X and Autism. William Parker primarily concentrates his philanthropic efforts on children with disabilities. Demonstrating his commitment to give back, he has served on several national and regional boards including the MIND Institute at UC Davis (California) and The National Fragile X Foundation, and founded the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Philhaven. William also serves on the National Autism Society Board. In addition, he also advances the cause by working with officials at both the state and federal levels to increase funding for research and services on behalf of individuals with special needs.
William Parker and his wife, Deborah, reside in Palmyra, Pennsylvania with their children.
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.
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%.
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?
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.
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?
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-
Perhaps that we’ve ever even had.
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.
And incredibly shocking, in a great way.
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.
Joy to be with you.
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?
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.
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?
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.”
“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.
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.
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?
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.
Good for you.
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.
You should have … That means you flew. Wingtips.
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.”
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Matt, let me jump in and ask you a quick question here. I know we’ve got just about two and a half minutes-
Yeah, just a couple of minutes. Yeah.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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