2-15-18: The Real “Trigger” Behind School Shootings

Dave Kistler: 

“Many people have been killed.” That is the exact statement that was made yesterday by Florida Senator Bill Nelson at approximately 4:00 pm, and of course that to which he was referring was the shooting that occurred yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The shooting, as best we can tell from the limited timeline that has been released, commenced around 2:30 am yesterday afternoon, with initial reports of 20-50 people being injured and 14 being taken to the hospital. Well, now we know that 17 to this point have lost their lives and those that were injured are in the range that was initially reported yesterday.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to be talking about what happened at that school in Florida yesterday. That’s going to be crux of our program today as we discuss this theme: Curative Solutions or Treating Merely Symptoms.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem in the United States of America. We have a violence issue at our schools. This is the 18th such shooting at a public school since the start of this year, so there is a problem. But the question that begs to be answered is what is the solution to this problem? Is it greater restriction of gun ownership? Is it more gun control? Is it the elimination of assault-type weapons, the AR-15, which was the weapon that was used yesterday? Is that the solution or is there a deeper answer to the problem as far as a solution.

And with that, I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap Today. I am Dave Kistler, President of Hope Ministries International and Hope to the Hill in Washington DC. And I’m joined today by the American Pastors Network President, Sam Rohrer.

And we also have a special guest that is going to be with us throughout the majority of the program. It’s Pastor Bob Burgess, New Testament Baptist Church, Ravenna, Ohio. But what Bob brings to the table in addition to his love of God, his love of the word of God, his love of his church people, he also has a 37 year background in law enforcement. So he’s going to bring all of that to the table and to the discussions today.

So I implore you to stay tuned. You may want to pick up your phone. Call a friend, a neighbor, someone that you know that would be benefited greatly by our conversation today as we try to drill down, again, on this theme: Curative Solutions or Treating Merely the Symptom.

Sam, I want to go to you first. Obviously yesterday was a disturbing day. I’ve seen some of the videos from inside the school. I immediately called another law enforcement friend of both mine and yours and he actually said, “Dave, my son attended that very high school when he went to high school.” And so, he has a somewhat vested interest in what took place yesterday.

But almost immediately, Sam, the cries for greater restrictions on guns commenced in a press conference just about an hour ago. Both the Superintendent of the school system there in Broward County as well as the Broward County Sheriff addressed that something has to be done.

Before I ask you a question with respect to that, I just want to get your overall take and a little bit of your feel, maybe even as a dad, which I am. Bob is as well. What you thought yesterday as you saw those young people streaming by the scores, some of them walking, others running with their hands above their head to get out of another horrific shooting situation.

Sam Rohrer: 

Well, Dave, my heart went out to them as a father of five sons, one daughter and a lot of grandchildren, as you and Bob would as well. I think any sensitive-thinking person, their heart would go out because that’s not the kind of thing that we expect, nor do we want to see when our children are away at school or frankly anyplace.

But, you know, while I’m looking at that, I’m thinking, “You know, here again,” and you did say, this is the 18th time this year where we’ve seen violence of this type in schools. But when you take it, Dave, and you put together the numbers of violent actions that are taking place within our cities, where murders are taking place, and in society across the board, I look at that and I say, “Oh, oh, oh.”   My heart grieves for the culture. Grieves for my country. Grieves for the time when our people once having a respect for others and for life and for property now find those things to be so not valuable and not worthy of being protected.

And it tells me we have shifted. We have turned a corner in our nation. You cannot deny it anymore. And of course, that’s where we going to get to in this program. But that’s what I first began to think, and my mind goes right to, “What does God say about this? How does God look at this circumstance? And how is God looking at our nation when we see these kinds of things occur?”

Dave Kistler:   

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly where we’re going to go in the remainder of the program, but I want to go to our special guest today, Pastor Bob Burgess, New Testament Baptist Church, Ravenna, Ohio. Again, a veteran of 37 years in all aspects of law enforcement.

Bob, I know you watched this yesterday, thoroughly familiar with much of what your eyes saw as the news reported. These kids running out of this high school there in Parkland, Florida, which is a very affluent area of Broward County. There’s many professional athletes who have homes there. It’s in the extreme northern part of the county, actually near Palm Beach County, which is north of Broward.

Bob, as you watched all of that yesterday, from, first of all, a pastoral perspective, what were you thinking?

Bob Burgess:    

As I saw the live reports breaking in on the news breaks, I cried out, “Oh God, no.” As I saw news footage, I thought to myself, “Here we go again. How long will it be, Lord, before we get this?” And when I say “get this”, Dave, Sam, I preached the message in my church a week ago Sunday.

This subject had haunted my heart about what was going on. I asked my sound man to please not record the first part of what I was saying. I will tell you now, on-air, what I was saying. I was giving advice to our public safety folks in our congregation, our school superintendent that’s one of my deacons, our safety officers that are in schools that attend our congregation.  I said, “The Lord has really laid upon my heart something that is rather devious in nature that I’m looking at and I want to tell you that when you have these fire drills or you have these alarms that are pulled, to please, please consider changing how you approach this, where you put your people. Get with your safety services and have them, perhaps, use their equipment to make a safe area to send people because we’re in such a deviant society today, Satan has such power today, that I’m afraid that these things that are meant for our protection are going to be used for ill will.

And here I come to find out, only a couple of weeks later, that a fire alarm was pulled by this fellow in Florida.

Dave Kistler: 

And then our special guest is Pastor Bob Burgess of New Testament Baptist Church, Ravenna, Ohio. Of course, he not only is a seasoned pastor, but he has 37 years of law enforcement experience in his background. He’s been a SWAT commander, he has worked within the legal side, the judicial side of the police and law enforcement community as well.

And so, he is a man with rich experience and brings all that experience to the table today as we discuss this theme: Curative Solutions or Treating Only the Symptoms. And ladies and gentlemen, what we’re talking about is this horrific shooting that took place yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

And within the last hour, the President of the United States has weighed in. And I will not play a segment of his speech or really go into too much detail, but I want to point out two things he said, which I thought were outstanding. He said no child in the United States of America should have to feel unsafe when they go to school and no parent should have to have apprehension when they kiss their child goodbye in the morning. And I agree with all of that.

The question, though, is, how do we ensure that our children are safe at school and how do we make sure that parents do not have to be afraid when they say goodbye to their children each morning and send them off to school or drop them off at school.

Sam, I want to go to you first because, as is usually the case, the cries for greater restrictions on guns has commenced in earnest and I want you to address that, if you would. But Sam, I want to go here and ask my question this way. In your opinion, with the removal of God, Bible reading, prayer, that took place in 1962 from the public schools of the United States of America, in essence, what we did was declare our schools a God-free zone. That’s basically what we were doing. And now, all these years later, we’re having these horrific acts that are occurring inside the places that ought to be the most safe place in our country.

In your opinion, what might or what would have been different even yesterday if this school and all schools around the country had or would allow access to God’s Ten Commandments to student, the Fifth Commandment of which says clearly “Thou shalt not kill.”

Sam Rohrer:  

Well, Dave, I think that you’ve made a connection there that I hope all of our listeners understand to be legitimate and clear. ‘Cause I was going to go right there with the matter of the Ten Commandments. Let me hearken back here to two things. First of all, here in Pennsylvania, William Penn, I’ve cited it before, with his frame of government, which upon the other founders referred when our whole basis of law was put in place, very clearly said this. That free republic, this wholly experiment in self-government, and that’s what we have, this is an experiment in self-government, could only survive, get off the ground or continue if the people, the citizens, the average person and those in office, limited their actions and submitted themselves, their choices, to that of God’s Ten Commandments.

All right, now, we know that’s the basis of our law. We should because it hangs behind most of our Supreme Court desks and so forth. However, the point he made was this: the foundation of God’s law that says there’s value to life, thou shalt not kill. There’s value to telling the truth, thou shalt not bear false witness, and so forth, are the things that must be put in place, but they have to be voluntarily followed. If they are not voluntarily followed, no body of law, no system of government can force a person to always do that which is right because you effectively turn it out.

Now, that’s the foundation.  It was in place. Our Supreme Court, though, years ago, and you referred to it, Dave, came back and said, when they ordered the removal of our Ten Commandments. The order by the Supreme Court was this, their justification was we cannot allow these Ten Commandments to hang on the walls of our public school classroom. Reason being because if they hang there, it’s likely that our children will read them. And if they read them, it’s likely they will venerate them or do them, and they said, this we cannot allow.

Well, Dave, so the Ten Commandments went out the door. Our children don’t have the opportunity to read them. The teacher cannot refer to them. There is no more restraint hanging in front of them. So therefore, we get exactly what the Supreme Court wanted us to get. Children who do not venerate or honor life or the property of others. This is a direct cause and effect and that’s where we have to go with it.

Dave Kistler:

You know, Sam, I think you’ve hit on something that is beyond powerful and I want to go to Bob, because before we went live, Bob, you were sharing something with Sam and I with respect to your local community of Ravenna, Ohio. You have outside your church a bell or a bell tower and, at the 12:00 hour, four minutes before we went live today, you referenced the fact that you could hear those bells chiming. And you shared something with us that I found to be very, very powerful. I would love for you to share that with our listening audience, if you would.

Bob Burgess:  

Yes. We live in a community where there’s avid break-ins in the day time. Garages, cars, etc., storage buildings in the residential areas as well as the business communities surrounding us. And many of my former comrades in law enforcement that have jurisdiction in the venue where our church is at tell me that over the last couple of years, since we have installed these bells that ring from our church steeple throughout the neighborhoods, they can be heard for several blocks away, that the crime statistics on the burglaries and the breaking and enterings have actually decreased. Now, as to whether or not that can be charged directly to that, but in our manner of conversation, we were speaking about the spiritual aspect and the effects that institution of God that can be heard throughout the community may be playing a role in that decrease.

Dave Kistler: 

Well, gentlemen, it’s interest because every year, it’s the first week of May, there is a Bible reading marathon in Washington DC. It corresponds directly with the same week that the National Day of Prayer is commemorated. The Bible is read. We’ll be talking about this coming up very, very quickly in more detail here on the program. But we start on a Sunday evening at 6:00 pm. The Bible is read basically over 90 hours from that 6:00 pm on Sunday evening, all the way until around 12:00 noon on Thursday, the first Thursday of May, which is always the day in which we commemorate and celebrate the National Day of Prayer.

And the Capitol Hill Police that guard the Capitol complex, they guard the building, they guard what’s called Capitol Hill, have verbalized to us on numerous occasions that they love our presence there because the week we are there, crime and the crime rate drops on Capitol Hill while the Bible is being read and during that particular week.

So, it’s interesting. We’re not talking about direct access necessarily to the Ten Commandments of God. Bob, you’re not talking about that with your chimes there that play in your bell tower in your church. But you are talking about something that is overtly religious. It is an acknowledgement of the God of heaven. And of course, the Bible being read on the west plaza steps of the United States Capitol is, of course, God’s infallible inerrant word. And there is a purifying, cleansing effect that these things have.

Sam, I want to contrast that with the fact that, in the United States of America, it is no longer taught as a mere theory, it is taught as fact. And I’m talking about this heinous thing called evolutionary thought that we evolved from a lower life form. If God did not create mankind, if this young man yesterday does not view his classmates, his former classmates there at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, if he does not view them as a likeness or a representation of God created by God in God’s very images, but he instead views them as having evolved and he, himself, as well, having evolved from a lower life form, Sam, what does that do?  What does that do to the thinking, not just of the American youth, but the thinking of the American people, with respect to how life should be valued?

Sam Rohrer: 

Well, Dave, the entire concept of life, and can I add to that, value, and tied to that, the concept, therefore, of honor and respect, all which are based on a concept of value, which is based on the concept that life is sacred, which is based on the fact that God created. Our founders recognized it, [inaudible 00:16:43] what they said. “We are endowed by our creator, he’s given us certain rights.” That’s where value comes from.

Dave, you take God out of the equation, any ideology, the atheistic ideology of communism, the ideology of Islam, which does not have value in the person. All of their actions, Dave, you find that the treatment and value of property and respect and honor for God, for that which is right, for life of all people, regardless of color, doesn’t exist. It only comes, that’s the wonderful thing about it, life and value and sacredness of these things only comes with the liberty that we have in Jesus Christ. That comes right off the Bible. You throw the Bible out, you throw out with it all of these things that we come to enjoy in this country, but we throw them out, not knowing that they only come from one source.

Dave Kistler:

Sam, then let me ask you this. What it sounds like you’re saying and advocating is this. Our theme today is Curative Solutions. In other words, we’re looking for a cure here. We’re not just looking to put Band-aids on open wounds. We want to find a cure to the problem of what’s happening in America’s schools and the violence that’s rampant on the streets of our country.

So what you’re saying, is, Sam, if we would reintroduce God. If we would reintroduce, especially at the educational level, the fact that man was created by a holy righteous God, that would help solve the problem ultimately.

Sam Rohrer:

Dave, that is the remedy. Jesus Christ and the liberty that comes from faith in Him, healing, hope and security is only found in Jesus Christ and in obedience to God’s word. It’s that simple.

Dave Kistler:

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re paying attention to the news at all, you are very well aware that there are calls coming now with increased rapidity and frequency since yesterday’s horrific shooting, and those calls are for stricter gun legislation for certain types of weapons to be outlawed, it’s commonly called the Assault Rifle Ban. Yet, the question we’re trying to answer is this: is that really the answer to the problem? Is that a curative solution, or is that merely the treating of a symptom?

I want to give you a very fascinating scenario that took place in 1982. Talking about a small town in Georgia. It’s called Kennesaw, Georgia. I’ve been in Kennesaw a number of times. And in 1982, the Kennesaw City Council unanimously passed a law requiring, you’re hearing me correctly, requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition.

The ordinance states, the gun law, that that law is needed rather to “protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.” Well, in 1982, one of the councilmen at that time was a gentleman named J.O. Stephenson and he said, after the ordinance was passed, everyone “went crazy.”

If you know anything about the 1982 law, you will know he is 100% correct. People nationwide just went absolutely nuts. How can you require that of your citizens? Is it even constitutional to require that of your citizens? Well, lawsuits were brought and the Kennesaw City Council won every lawsuit. And Mr. Stephenson went on and said this, “People all over the country said there would be shootings in the streets and violence in homes.” And he said, “Of course, that was not the case.”

In fact, the exact opposite took place. According to the Kennesaw Historical Society President, Robert Jones, he said that following the law’s passage, get this, the crime rate dropped in Kennesaw, Georgia, 89%. In the city of Kennesaw. Now, that’s compared to a 10% crime rate drop statewide across the state of Georgia. So, 10% across the rest of the state, 89% drop in the city of Kennesaw.

Now, Bob, I want to go to you. You’re a law enforcement guy. You’re also the pastor of a church. You merged these two roles and have merged them together very, very well. What is the reason that there was such a precipitous drop in crime after this law requiring the occupants of the city of Kennesaw to own at least one firearm and sufficient ammunition to use?

Bob Burgess:  

I think it’s common sense. It’s peace through superior fire power. Those in the area that would be committing crimes had something to fear. When you do offender profiles, you find out that the offender risk, i.e., what risk does the offender have to take to accomplish their goals? It’s no different than policing a community. A police department that shows off those red and blues actively tells the burglar that’s going from point A to point B to pick another community because their risk of being apprehended or caught increases by that visual deterrent.

I would imagine much the same with Kennesaw, Georgia. I would imagine much the same with anywhere who has a show of force. Our nation, for goodness sakes, was once known as a powerful nation across this world. People in North Korea didn’t try to rattle chains and send missiles at us for fear of reprisal, because we had peace through superior firepower. I know that’s not a popular antidote, but it’s true nevertheless.

Brother Dave, Sam, I’d like to say, when I went to school, before I even accepted Jesus Christ as my lord and savior, I heard about God in school. That’s where I heard it first. And I just asked myself, oh, with this young man that did such dastardly deeds and brought such sorrow and loss upon this community in Florida, had he grown up in a school where he heard about God, what difference would that have made? I have to believe it would have made a major difference. We’re living in a –

Dave Kistler:  

You know-

Bob Burgess: 

I’m sorry.

Dave Kistler:    

That’s all right, no, Bob. I just wanted to say this to Sam. You know, Bob is making a powerful point that Sam, you made in the last segment the statement that, if God were reintroduced once again, if his plan of salvation and the person of Jesus Christ, which is what Bob’s addressing here, were once again reintroduced to our young people, even in the school setting, the impact would be dramatic. So, we’re talking here about solutions. We’re looking for curative solutions.

And I don’t want to put words in your mouth. I certainly don’t want to put words in Bob’s mouth, but it sounds like what we’re talking about here are two things. We’re talking about a spiritual component of God, his Ten Commandments, his expectations with respect to how he views sin, how man’s soul is redeemed from that sinful state. All of that needs to be taught once again, but also understanding the sinfulness of man. That you are, and we are going to have, from time to time, people try to perpetrate acts of evil, you need to take a precaution to deal with that. So arming people, whether it be the city of Kennesaw, Georgia or whether it be appropriately trained and armed people at a public school, that is not something, Sam, that is inappropriate.

So the introduction of God and the introduction of appropriate security, those two things, Sam, are curative solutions, are they not?

Sam Rohrer:  

Well, Dave, they are, and this thought just came to my mind. We’re talking about arms and we’re talking about examples of people arming themselves. Let me go and say this, that a people that are not armed with the truth will not be protected by only a gun. We must be armed with the truth. That’s the moral constraint. That’s to say that that takes us back to the spiritual component. There is God, there is value in life, he made it; therefore, I must view my fellow man and his property as a possession that they have, given of God.

Without that basic truth, Dave, the gun does not become the defender of life. It becomes the taker of life. And so, in all of our discussions for all these guys that are standing up and saying, “Let’s clamp down on guns,” and who never say anything about the matter of truth and the value of life and the source of that, Dave, no law, no law, no nothing that we do are going to be able to solve the problems we have.

You know, when you think about the schools, think of all the circumstances we have. We have all of this sexual activity between students and teachers. It’s all over the place, right? We hear that. This violence we have in the school. The kinds of things we have with disrespect of students to teachers, disrespect of teachers to students that we hear so much about. Dave, all of those are linked to truth, and God, as the center point.

So we can’t talk about public policy of any type or law or change of law until we first recognize where this whole thing’s coming from, and that is God’s law and the presence of God. That’s why our founders started where they did, the Ten Commandments on which they built a legal system, they built a respect of law, of rights that came from God and our pulpits preached it. They have to work together, Dave, or we won’t be able to make enough laws or do enough things to protect all the people.

Dave Kistler: 

Bob, let me go to you and ask you this question. There have been a lot of ideas already since yesterday’s horrific events floated with respect to arming retired police officers or maybe retired military. Providing to them a course of appropriate training and positioning them around the property at schools and school systems across the United States of America. Obviously the response to that that’s immediately thrown up is the cost of it, it would be ineffective, and you hear all the reasons as to why that would not work.

But it looks like to me, Bob, and I don’t have a law enforcement background. I’ve spend a lot of time around guys like you and others in law enforcement and have some degree of understanding of it. But it looks like to me, this is part of the solution is to have armed individuals inside the schools, trained appropriately. And that, in and of itself, the knowledge that there are armed people on that property would have been a deterrent yesterday and would be a deterrent at any other potential catastrophic scenario that could unfold.

Bob Burgess: 

Dave, I want to say this. Because of godlessness, this is why we have this disease. The disease is godlessness. We have symptoms of the disease. Now, with that said, if we want to treat the disease, we’re going to have to get God back into the school. If they don’t want to do that, then they’re going to be stuck with nothing but treating symptoms.

Even if we got God back in the school today, we would still have to address the disease and the symptoms. The rock’s been thrown in the pond years ago and we’re dealing with ripples as symptoms. With that said, we need to be able to get God back in the schools and we need to be able to treat the symptoms by having that peace through superior firepower.

We need to be able to have security in our schools anywhere that we have soft targets today. Satan is very powerful. We know that they passed laws in Chicago, strict gun laws. They lead the nation in murders. Despite that, we’re not going to give a caveat of passing stricter gun laws that’s going to give comfort to me as a father or a grandfather that my children are going to be safer in schools, knowing what I know as a result of stricter gun laws. We need to treat the disease and we need to be prepared for the symptoms of those disease.

Dave Kistler:

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the symptoms is what happened yesterday. A shooter came in and fired rounds off and killed 17 people, but the underlying cause that must be addressed is what motivated him to do that. If he had been taught that he was created, and his classmates were created by a holy righteous God and he had a value for life, if that man had heard the truth, as Bob said, of the gospel of Jesus Christ and accepted him as savior, then yesterday would have never occurred.  So we’re trying to deal with curative solutions, not just treat symptoms.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Stand in the Gap today and I want to say this in our solutions segment. Really, the entire program today has been about solutions, so the whole program has been solution-oriented. We’re talking about this theme, Curative Solutions rather than just treating symptoms. But we at the American Pastors Network believe that God’s word, the Bible, is his infallible, inerrant truth. We believe it is not just a collection of great stories and wonderful suggestions and pithy comments. We believe it is God’s rule book for faith and practice and that when God’s word is implemented and lived, that incredibly good things happen as a result.

One of the passages that we have kind of danced all around today without specifically referring to is found in the book of Nehemiah, Chapter number four, where the walls of the city of Jerusalem had collapsed, the gates has become burned with fire, the enemy had unmitigated entrance into the city to carry off crops. To basically exercise their will over the people of Israel, the nation of Israel, the city of Jerusalem.

And Nehemiah comes onto the scene. He grew up in the captivity in Babylon. He hears about the plight of his home country. He goes back and begins to plan and implement a solution to the problem that basically was twofold. In Nehemiah, Chapter number four, he said, “We made our supplication to our God.” In other words, we brought God into the picture. Clearly, first and foremost, God was a part. But, he said, “We also set a watch against the enemy day and night.” And I have jokingly referred to it this way. His prescription was our wall is protected by God and Smith & Wesson. In other words, we prayed and relied on the Lord, but we used common sense and implemented common sense approaches as well.

If you know anything about that passage, you know they had a trowel in one hand, building the wall. They clutched a sword in the other hand. So those two, God and an appropriate protection of people using a sword in Nehemiah’s day, using a weapon in our day, that is not inappropriate and those two are certainly not incompatible.

Sam, I would love for you to address that, if you would, because what we’re talking about is getting God back into the picture, not just in our schools, but nationally. And until we do, we’re going to continue to have the problems we saw yesterday at this high school. But it is not wrong, simultaneous with that, to implement policies and procedures and protocols that involve sometimes weapons to keep our citizenry and especially our youngest among us in our schools safe.

Sam Rohrer:  

Dave, absolutely. The two walk together, but they have to be in the right order, meaning this: life comes from God. God sets the rules. He establishes the value of life. He establishes the moral law, that if it’s broken, what the remedy should be. That’s called justice. That’s what the Department of Justice is supposed to be about. That is a part of life.

But it starts with God and his definition of value. But within that, all through the scripture, the concept of the sword walks hand in hand with the truth. Ultimately, as you gave the example there of the wall, they had a trowel for building and they had a sword for defense. That was what they were told to do. In the temples of the Old Testament, there were the guards who stood there with their weapon, the sword, to prevent the enemy from violating that sacred place.

Christ, when he talked to a disciple, said, “Go and sell your coat and buy a sword.” Now, the point was, you’re going to be out there in a very bad world with very bad people who don’t all control themselves according to the Ten Commandments and a fear of God. Therefore, you are not to be there and just say, “Come kill me.” You have a sword. Christ said that. God has enacted that policy.

The point here, though, Dave, is that our faith and our trust must be in God and the truth that he lays out and his plan. The sword is not where our trust is, but it’s there as a legitimate tool, appropriated, given by God to, in the case of government, wield the sword of justice. In the case of a father or a mother in the home or of someone in authority, to protect the lives of those who are under their authority. It goes together beautifully when we understand God’s pattern.

Dave Kistler:

Bob, let me go to you. If you were given the task of implementing a strategy, and I’m talking about not just the spiritual component, which comes first, that Sam just so powerfully alluded to, but also the practical side of protecting our schools. If you were slated with the task of doing that and implemented a policy or could implement a policy nationwide that would then be implemented in our schools, what would it be and how would you approach it?

Bob Burgess: 

Our schools contain the most precious of life. They contain our children. If there’s not anything worth being protected such as that, where do we stand? I do believe that our schools in this day and age, since we are not fighting a disease of flesh and blood and objects, we’re fighting symptoms of flesh and blood, we need to be prepared to battle and combat those symptoms of evil that are brought upon such as happened in Florida and just far too many other places.

We need to have security for our children. For those poor teachers. I can imagine those teachers. I don’t know how some of them are going to be able to return to their profession, to their classroom. The impact that we see here is far and wide compared to what we can see on the surface.

But at least we need to resign ourselves that our students, our churches, the people that are in one place, under one roof need to be protected from this evil.

Dave Kistler:  

So, Bob, how would you go about doing that? Use the school setting. I mean, you would put armed people, trained, and weapons in their hands equal to what could come against them? For example, if this guy used an AR-15, it would not be inappropriate in your mind for well-trained security guards at public schools to equally hold in their hands an AR-15 or something greater to deal with this issue.

Bob Burgess:   

We need men and women who are trained in the spirit of combating evil. School teachers aren’t trained in that spirit. We need officers that can be in our schools. We need doors to be locked. There’s no reason to have this open free flow in this day and age with the risk to our students of having schools unlocked that folks can just come and go. There needs to be a professional deterrent that both deters and shows the offender that they’re going to be taking a risk, but at the same time, brings peace and comfort to those within those structures. The students and the teachers.

So, yes, there needs to be professional, armed police officers in those buildings where those valuable resources, our teachers and our students, reside most every day of their lives.

Dave Kistler:

Well, Bob, I couldn’t agree with you more.

Sam, I want to go to you and ask you to close us in prayer in just a second, but I want to quickly ask you this. There really is no benefit, Sam, is there, in protecting young people if philosophically their minds are going to still be filled with the same evolutionary thought that is devoid of God? Really, in one sense, we’re missing the whole point and we’re talking about curative solutions. We’ve got to go to the God component first, do we not?

Sam Rohrer:

Dave, every house with sturdy walls has to have a firm foundation. That foundation of society is truth. It’s in the Bible, it’s what God says. No foundation, no walls, no roof. Simple as that.

‘Save The Persecuted Christians’ Coalition Begins Awareness Movement Today; Churches Across America Display Banners Featuring ‘Nun’ Symbol

North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan have in common an appalling attribute: they are ranked as the world’s top five countries perpetrating “extreme persecution” of Christians according to the recent World Watch List from Open Doors USA. The list annually ranks the worst 50 countries when it comes to persecution.

Such persecution currently occurs so routinely that it rarely makes headlines these days. For example, according to Open Doors, 255 Christians are killed worldwide every month. 104 Christians are abducted. 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage. 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial. And 66 churches are attacked. Every month.

In response to such outrages and with a shared determination to protect their victims, scores of individuals and organizations have come together to launch today the Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition, (www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org). Save the Persecuted Christians’ mission is to protect Christians worldwide who are suffering discrimination, torture, rape, slavery, banishment and murder—simply because they believe in Jesus Christ.

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

The STPC initiative also starts today, February 14, Ash Wednesday, by asking faith leaders and houses of worship across America to post banners outside for two reasons: 1) build awareness and 2) encourage engagement by visiting www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org.

The banners feature the “nun” letter, which has become an international symbol for the oppression of Christians ever since the Islamic State used this first letter of the Arabic word for “Nazarene” to designate homes of followers of Christ targeted for persecution.



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

A banner and supporting materials can be viewed and downloaded at www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org. Other items available include additional information about the Coalition, a pastoral bulletin insert and details concerning partner resources.

Leading members of the Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition include:

Rev. David Barton, WallBuilders

Pastor Paul Blair, Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ

LTG/Rev. “Jerry” Boykin, Family Research Council

Dr. Mark Christian, Global Faith Initiative

Andrew Coleman, Voices of the Martyrs

Devon Cross, Donors’ Forum on International Affairs

Bill Dallas, United in Purpose

Dr. Tim Daughtry, Clinical Psychologist and Author

Tom Doyle, Uncharted Ministries and Author

Bob Fu, ChinaAid

Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy

Pastor Mark Gonzales, Hispanic Action Network

Suzanne Grishman, Nazarene Fund

Deborah and Michael Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies

Phil Haney, former CPB Officer and Author

Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, former Students for Soviet Jewry Activist

Jake Hoffman, Rally Forge

Jason James, Resonance Films

Jerry Johnson, National Religious Broadcasters

Tracey Johnson, Credo Strategies

Rick Joyner, Oak Initiative

Kelly Kullberg, American Association of Evangelicals

Dede Laugesen, Save the Christian Middle East

Reggie Littlejohn, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers

Fr. Andre Mahanna, St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy

Faith McDonnell, Institute for Religion and Democracy

Rev. Johnnie Moore, Kairos Ministries

Pastor Sam Rohrer, American Pastors Network

Zach Sicherman, Faithkeepers

Erick Stackelbeck, Christians United for Israel

Juliana Taimoorazy, Iraqi Christian Relief

Elizabeth Yore, International Child Advocate and Attorney

Gregg Young, Red State Radio Host

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

Isaac Crockett: 

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

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

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

Gary Dull:   

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

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

Isaac Crockett:  

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

Dave Kistler:

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

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

Isaac Crockett: 

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

Matt Recker:

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

Isaac Crockett:


Matt Recker:  

Perhaps that we’ve ever even had.

Isaac Crockett:  


Matt Recker: 

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

Isaac Crockett: 


Matt Recker: 

And incredibly shocking, in a great way.

Isaac Crockett: 

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

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

Matt Recker: 

Joy to be with you.

Isaac Crockett:

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

Matt Recker:

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

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

Gary Dull:

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

Matt Recker: 

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

Gary Dull:


Matt Recker: 

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

Gary Dull:    


Matt Recker: 

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

Gary Dull:  


Dave Kistler: 

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

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

Matt Recker: 

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

Gary Dull:   

Good for you.

Matt Recker:       

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

Gary Dull: 

You should have … That means you flew. Wingtips.

Matt Recker:

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

Dave Kistler: 

Amen. Amen.

Matt Recker:

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

Isaac Crockett: 

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

Matt Recker: 

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

Dave Kistler:

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

Matt Recker: 

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

Gary Dull: 

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

Matt Recker: 

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

Isaac Crockett: 

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

Matt Recker: 

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

Isaac Crockett:  

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

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

Matt Recker:

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

Dave Kistler:

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

Matt Recker:  

Yeah, just a couple of minutes. Yeah.

Dave Kistler:

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

Matt Recker:

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

Isaac Crockett:

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

Gary Dull:

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

A Historic Example Of Judicial Activism: The Cantwell Case

by David W. New, Esq.

(Originally published in 2005. Updated in 2018.)

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

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

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

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

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

The Basic Facts of the Cantwell Case

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

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

Religious Freedom Before Cantwell

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

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

Religious Freedom After Cantwell

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

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

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

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

Why the Cantwell Case is More Important Than the First Amendment

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

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

How Cantwell Affected the Public Schools

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

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

How Cantwell Affected the Ten Commandments

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

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

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

Judicial Activism in Cantwell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neil. To read the ABA poll visit:


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

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

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

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

from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1989.





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

Sam Rohrer:                

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gary Dull:

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

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

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

Sam Rohrer:

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

Gary Dull:

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

Sam Rohrer:  

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

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

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

Dave Bailey:

Thank you.

Sam Rohrer:   

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

Dave Bailey:

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

Gary Dull:

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

Dave Bailey:

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

Gary Dull:

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

Dave Bailey:

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

Sam Rohrer: 

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

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

Dave Bailey: 

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

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

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

Sam Rohrer: 

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

Dave Bailey:  


Sam Rohrer:

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

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

Dave Bailey:

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

Sam Rohrer: 

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

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

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

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

Dave Bailey: 

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

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

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

Gary Dull:  

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

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

Dave Bailey:    

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

Sam Rohrer:  

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

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

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

Gary Dull: 

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

Sam Rohrer:

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

Gary Dull:

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

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

Sam Rohrer: 

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

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

Dave Bailey: 

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Persecution—A Slow-Motion Holocaust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rohrer also shared these concepts on the show:

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

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

To listen to the entire program, click HERE.

Photo by Simeon Muller on Unsplash

1-22-18: Finding God’s Love After Abortion




Sam Rohrer:

Well, today marks the 45th anniversary of perhaps the most dreadful United
States Supreme Court decision in the history of our nation. That decision turned
this nation from a nation of life to a nation of death, and that decision
guaranteed God’s judgment on a nation that was once birthed by God’s divine
providence. It's resulted in 90 times more deaths than all of the soldiers killed in
the battlefield in all of the US wars since 1775. That's right. Let me repeat that,
at over 60 million deaths this court case has sentenced to death 90 times more
people to death than all of the soldiers killed in all US battles since 1775. That
infamous court decision was none other than Roe v Wade which passed January
22nd, 1973, 45 years ago by a vote of seven to two.

Well, this week has also been declared by President Donald Trump to be the
annual sanctity of life week, appropriately so. We're going to focus today's
program on life. Our general theme for today is celebrate life. God does. We're
going to look at why life is sacred from God's perspective, here right off.
Segment two and three we're going to get a personal testimony from a woman
who yielded to the temptation to have an abortion, but then found redemption
and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, as we discuss a few of the personal costs
as well as the cultural costs of rejecting life. Then in the last segment we're
going to look at how we can restore a culture of life in our nation once again.

With that as a roadmap for today's program I want to welcome you to Stand In
The Gap Today, I'm Sam Rohrer host of the program here, and I'm going to be
joined by Pastor Gary Dull, senior pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Altoona,
Pennsylvania, and also executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network,
as well as evangelist Dave Kistler, president of our North Carolina Pastors
Network, and president of Hope to the Hill in Washington, DC, and then our
very special guest Kim Ketola host of Cradle My Heart Today, that radio program
that she hosts. She's also the author of Amazon's number one bestseller Cradle
My Heart: Finding God's Love After Abortion.

Well, Dave and Gary, it's great to be back together with you two guys after this
weekend here on this national program that God's given us the privilege of
communicating all over America on nearly 450 radio stations on this program
alone, including now in the City of Washington, DC that covers Virginia,
Maryland, Delaware, Southern Pennsylvania. I think because of this topic today
talking about a Supreme Court case, really appropriate that we're there in that
market. Dave, I'd like to get some comment from you here. I think you listened
to some of the comments made at the rally, March for Life rally on Friday of last
week, but just before I ask you for your comments I'd like to play just a very
short clip, an introductory statement actually by Vice President Pence as he
welcomed that large gathering there to Washington, DC. If you could play that,

Mike Pence:

More than 240 years ago our founders wrote words that have echoed through
the ages. They declared these truths to be self-evident that we are each of us
endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights and that among these

are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 45 years ago the Supreme Court of
the United States turned its back on the inalienable right to life, but in that
moment our movement began, a movement that continues to win hearts and
minds, a movement defined by generosity, compassion and love, and a
movement that one year ago tomorrow inaugurated the most pro life President
in American history, President Donald Trump.

Sam Rohrer:

Well, Dave, those were just a few of the comments from Vice President Pence.
First of all I'd just like to ask you just a general brief comment of what you
thought the Vice President said and then build out at least one element of why
the foundation of our constitutionally protected freedoms and rights here are
so intricately linked to life.

Dave Kistler:

Sam, let me say this, I think it's ironic almost but more than fitting that as Vice
President was speaking you heard a little baby's cry in the background, and that
is an amazing, amazing thing. He is 100% correct. These are the foundational
principles upon which our country was established, the first one being an
inalienable right given to us by almighty God, and that is life. His comments
were incredible, but then the President following up on what the Vice President
had to say, coming out as the first President in the history of the country to ever
as a sitting President to address that group was stellar. Sam, I think what it
signaled was a cataclysmic moral paradigm shift in the United States of America.
It is beyond encouraging.

Sam Rohrer:

Gary, let me go to you because I agree with what Dave just said, and I'm going
to play a clip in the next segment, a short portion of what the President said. I'd
like to take you, have Gary, from God's perspective give us a very short treatise
on why life being so sacred to God, why is that? Why because of that we should
view all life to be so sacred?

Gary Dull:

Well, I would draw your attention Sam to two verses of scripture, one back in
Genesis 2:7 where it says and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the
ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living
soul. Then over in the Book of Acts 17:28 the word of God says: "For in him that
is in God we live and move and have our being, as certain also of your poets
have said, for we are also his offspring." I could comment greatly on both of
those passages of scripture, but the reason why God values life is because he is
the creator of life. He has breathed into the nostrils of Adam life and, of course,
that's been passed down to us. Then as is brought out there in Acts chapter 17,
we are his offspring and so we are made in God's image, therefore we should
respect life as we respect God and what he did in the creating of mankind.

Sam Rohrer:

Gary, you are correct. All of us could spend a long time here, but ladies and
gentlemen what Gary just said, what Dave just said, God is the source of all life.
He created it. He breathed into that first body that he made. He breathed in life.
We're made in God's image. We are therefore special. We are therefore sacred.
When we cast off God in our minds and we cast off his commands, we cast off the sacredness of life. That's what our country has done and much of the world
has done for a long time, but never with good results.

Recognizing the sacredness of life as a gift from God and finding its sole source
in a loving creator God is one of the most profound decisions an individual, a
family, or a nation must take. To choose life results in blessings untold for the
individual and the individual as well. To choose death is a choice that results in
sorrow individually and for a nation God's judgment. Perhaps the most
applicable verse in all of scripture is found in the Book of Deuteronomy in a
section of verses of there, and it's these. I want to put down and list out for you
right now God's warning. This was a warning to the Nation of Israel who God
wanted to bless.

He said in chapter 30, verses 15 and 16 and following, it says this, God says:
"See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. If you obey the
commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today by loving the
Lord your God, by walking in his ways and by keeping his commandments and
his statutes and his rules then you shall live and multiply and the Lord your God
will bless you and the land that you're entering to take possession of it. If your
heart turns away and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other
Gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you will surely perish." Then in
verse 19 it says: "I call heaven and Earth to witness against you today that I have
set before you life and death, blessing and curse, therefore choose life that you
and your offspring may live."

Now, while this is often applied to the modern pro life movement and it's right
to do so in principle, this promise is a national promise, and so its implications
are enormous when it comes to national blessing or national judgment. It starts
with individuals like you and me here today. It's my honor to welcome now to
Stand In The Gap Today a woman who was all too familiar with the personal
side of this decision to choose. Her name is Kim Ketola. She's the host and
executive producer of her own radio program, Cradle My Heart Today, and
author of a bestselling book about her life on this very subject entitled Cradle
My Heart: Finding God's Love After Abortion. With that I want to welcome to
Stand In The Gap Today Kim Ketola. Kim, thank you for being with us today.

Kim Ketola:

I appreciate it. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Sam Rohrer:

Well, Kim, it's really wonderful and it's an honor for us to have you on the
program today. You've been a real blessing to many, many women and men
across this nation as well. I'm glad that you've really taken the time to share just
a bit of your story with our listeners across the country today. Before I ask you
to share your story, I'd like to play a less than one minute clip, Kim, of President
Trump's address to the March for Life rally in DC on Friday. Just a short clip.
Russ, if you'd play that please.

Donald Trump:

Thousands of families, students and patriots and really just great citizens gather
here in our nation's capital. You come from many backgrounds, many places,

but you all come for one beautiful cause to build a society where life is
celebrated, protected and cherished. The March for Life is a movement born out
of love. You love your families. You love your neighbors. You love our nation and
you love every child born and unborn because you believe that every life is
sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God.

Sam Rohrer:

Well, we've been talking about that. Life, a gift from God. Kim, on this infamous
45th anniversary day of the Supreme Court Roe v Wade declaring that the
taking of life of the unborn was legal and effectively put their fist in the face of
God, our creator. How significant is, first of all, that our President Donald Trump
spoke to the March for Life from your perspective and made those comments
that I just played? Just your comments please before we get into your

Kim Ketola:

It's amazing to me that he's the first President to do so. I think other Presidents,
maybe it's a technology thing because they could do it via satellite from the
Rose Garden, but other Presidents have phoned in remarks. This is an event that
for over 45 years has been drawing hundreds of thousands of people to our
nation's capital to make their voices heard on behalf of the youngest members
of the human family here in our nation. I applaud President Trump. I don't think
we have to agree with him about everything to see that this is a very good thing
that he did in aligning himself with the cause of life this month.

Sam Rohrer:

Kim, certainly it is a delight to have you with us, and you've got quite a
testimony and you've written a book on a very important topic that has helped
many women, mothers and fathers and families together no doubt, because it
relates to this terrible crime of abortion. You've entitled your book Cradle My
Heart: Finding God's Love After Abortion, and I think that's very significant,
because there are a lot of people, a lot of ladies who've had abortion and after
those abortions they've just felt terrible. They need to know about the love of
God. Now, I know you've shared your story many, many times and it's difficult
every time you share it, but if you would please I'd like to ask you to share with
us a bit now of your story of your testimony. You evidently found yourself
pregnant and very fearful. Share just a little bit with our audience today what
this was like for you and how you went through it please.

Kim Ketola:

Sure. Well, I was in a relationship and it was a committed relationship, and so
we were sexual active before marriage, which I knew to be wrong but I wasn't
thinking about whether it was right or wrong. Moral considerations were not at
the top of my mind. I guess I considered myself a good enough person, and I
certainly had never heard any teaching about the sanctity of human life when I
found myself pregnant. I thought, "Oh, well we'll get married. I'll tell him and we'll just quietly get married and save our reputations." Instead, he wanted to
save his future by eliminating the child. This was a shock to me and I was
mortified that he would treat me that way. I didn't have any resources to stand
up for myself. I didn't have any principles on which to stand, which I think is the
most important thing for us to really realize when we think about how can
women do this.

We have some sort of an innate sense in our conscience that there's another life
involved, but of course as is still happening the abortion industry sold me the
deception that an early pregnancy does not equal a child. It's just tissue. We
picture that and they're still telling women that. I wasn't ignorant. I was an
educated person. I knew about the birds and the bees, but I somehow believed
that this was not going to be taking a life. God intervened that day at the very
last minute to wake me up to what was happening and to let me know that it
was wrong. Now, I was not a follower of Jesus Christ. I had the remnant of some
childhood teaching, but I believe the Holy Spirit has given a moment of grace
like that, a moment of truth like that to countless others because I've heard
their stories. Many brave women at that point get up. Many women at that
point are held in place by workers in the abortion industry, and I've heard many
of those stories as well.

As for me, I didn't know what to do with that information, and they say it's fight
or flight, but the third option we have when we're panicked is to freeze, and
that's what I did. Although I knew it was wrong, and although it really was not
my choice, it was something others had chosen for me I passively allowed it to
happen. That engendered in me a knowledge that in my heart I had behaved as
a coward. I knew that I was then the last line of defense against the death of an
innocent child, and yet I protected myself instead. It's coming to grips with that
knowledge of your character, coming to grips with God's judgment, as he must
judge that justly, that drove me to finally seek my healing and write about what
that journey was like when I wrote Cradle My Heart.

Dave Kistler:

Kim, let me ask you this, and it is a delight to have you aboard. How quickly after
you succumbed to this abortion did you come to a personal relationship with
Jesus Christ?

Kim Ketola:

It took many, many long years and the abortion absolutely impeded it. My first
question was does God hate me. My next question was am I going to hell. My
next question was what about the baby, have I doomed a baby to hell? I had a
lot of ignorance. I had a lot of misconceptions about God, but the fear drove my
lack of a relationship with God and when that would become intolerable I would
just deny that it was ever a problem at all. I would sink into the cultural
rationalizations: "Well, it was the best that I could do. It's legal. He wasn't there for me." Whatever it is that we tell ourselves. Then when the truth would dawn
once again, there was just an endless cycle of despair and denial, and despair
and denial. That lasted for over 20 years until a woman spoke the truth of God's
word to me from 1 John 1:8-9 and told me that that forgiveness and cleansing
was for me personally.

Praise God, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and I was given the gift of faith and I
believed. It was probably a period of maybe 10 years of attrition feeling worse
because now I knew that Christ had died for my sins, but I had no idea how to
reconcile this particular action. Yes, I think abortion destroys the spiritual lives
of women, I know that firsthand, and I know it from the many stories that I've
heard and told as well.

Sam Rohrer:

Let me go back now into our discussion with Kim. We're looking right now at the
ugly impact side of the equation, that decision made years ago. As God told
Israel in that Deuteronomy passage, blessings both national and personal would
result from choosing to obey God and follow his commands. He said that by so
doing that would result in choosing life, but choosing death and hardship and
judgment both nationally and personally would result also from rejecting God
and his commands which are all about preserving and working with the
sacredness of human life created in his image, and it's the same as choosing
death. The cost is always high of choosing death personally, culturally,

Now to talk about this further I want to go back to our discussion with Kim Ketola. Kim, I'd like you to pick up just a little bit before we get into looking at
some cultural impacts of abortion on this nation, or frankly any nation. You
were talking about it was 20 years that you dealt with some guilt and all of that
associated with it. Talk to us a little bit about the downside of not choosing life.
What kind of scars, what kind of difficulty are we bearing as individuals involved
or families involved in this type of thing? Just give us some insight if you could

Kim Ketola:

Well, I was extremely angry with the people who failed to support me. I was not
able to forgive when it would have been appropriate to forgive and would have
freed me from that experience. I poured myself into my career with a
vengeance, because after all what had it cost me? Then because I had that
abortion three months in to meeting my goal of starting a radio career in
Minneapolis and Saint Paul. I was on the air continuously there for over 30
years. I was part of the cultural landscape. You just couldn't escape me. I was 23
years old and just starting out in that launch phase. That's when most women
choose abortion, by the way, it's not primarily a poor women's problem. It's not primarily women of color. It's primarily middle class white women in the launch
phase who are choosing abortions to protect their income and to protect their
future, and that's what I was doing. I was a poster child for that.

As I advanced in that career I had no peace, you know unless the Lord builds the
house, those who build it labor in vain. With every bit of success, with every bit
of advancement a guilty conscience would tell me that I didn't deserve it and I
shouldn't enjoy it. I was terrified that people would find out what I had done,
once I did become a Christian in my late 30s. I had children. I married and had
children. That marriage had no chance. Christ was not at the center of it, but I
was not healed. I was working out all my issues, trying to, within this marriage
that was crippled by a lack of faith. Abortion, it definitely impacted my
parenting. I became very overprotective of my firstborn, and it was very difficult
for me to bond with my children when they were young. I didn't trust myself. I
knew I had harmed my first child, my child that's in heaven now, and so all of
these ways are … There are many others.

We have in the research a sixfold increase in suicide and suicidal gestures in
Finland, and that research is pure because they have national health care and because the women there, there's no stigma, and there's no disincentive to
report as we have here in America. Finland has had to address it as a public
health crisis. They haven't been all that successful. There's still, I think, a twofold
increase now after all their interventions. I thank God I didn't go to that level of
despair, but it's absolutely a potential for those who have an abortion
experience, one or more.

Dave Kistler:

Kim, let me ask you this question. I am the son of a father who came out of a
very dysfunctional and broken home. I've heard him describe many, many times
before he went home to be with the Lord about how difficult it was in that
broken home, ordered out of the home when he was a 14 year old, lived with
seven different families from the time he was a teenager until he graduated
from college, and he struggled with a lot of issues as a result of that. He made
this statement that I've never forgotten, he said, "The moment God gave me
victory was when I realized that God loved me as much as he loved anyone else,
and that verse of scripture in the Bible that says when my father and mother
forsake me then the Lord will take me up."

I would love for you to describe if you could the moment you realized there is
forgiveness available in the person of Jesus Christ for this act of abortion I
committed and there is a bright future ahead for me. I'd love for you to describe
a little of that if you could.

Kim Ketola: That's a pleasure and that's a joy. I think what it drives toward is for everybody listening to this to understand that one of our primary purposes here is to be
Christ's dwelling place among men, that the Holy Spirit, our bodies are meant
for that. Women can understand that as vessels of new life, but until we are
indwelled by the Holy Spirit we're likely to do just about anything with our
bodies and with our lives. Yes, grasping God's love was the game changer for
me, and it happened at a retreat. I was watching the passion being played out,
and Christ was being crucified, and they asked us to put ourselves in the drama
and to determine who we were, who best reflected the state of our heart at
that moment.

I saw Pilate who was just being political and trying to extract what he could out
of it for himself and I saw his wife who somehow supernaturally knew the truth
but had nothing to stand on to influence anybody with that truth, and I saw the
weeping women who were with him, suffering with him. I saw those guards
who gambled for his cloak, and I had to admit that, as I've told you, I had been
saved. I had accepted Christ as my savior 10 years earlier, but I had not made
him the goal of my faith. I had not called him Lord. I had not submitted to his
lordship in my life. As I watched him being crucified for me and saw them and
their callousness gambling for his cloak, I saw how I was trying to cloak myself
with salvation at his expense when he had already paid it all for me.

I don't know, somehow his bravery allowed me to step over the line and say, "I
have no excuse. I am guilty of everything including that abortion, and I will take
whatever sentence you deem fit for me. I don't want you to suffer for me in this way anymore." I still can be moved to think about the beauty of his bravery on
our behalf. Praise God, I did, I expected to be condemned, vaporized, I don't
know exactly what. It was just like whatever happens I have to repent. Praise
God, instead of smiting me, he spoke into my spirit and said tell them I love
them. Tell them I love them, that that's what this cross is about. That's why it's my joy to bring up that difficult day and everything that went with it to warn
others but also to shine a light on the goodness of Christ and just how far he
went to bring me back to himself.

Sam Rohrer:


Gary Dull:

Kim, in your speaking there I'm reminded of the Book of Lamentations 3 that
tells us that if it would not be for the mercy of the Lord we would be consumed,
and how we can thank God for his mercy. I can imagine there's some lady
listening to us right at this very moment who is feeling very, very lost and lonely
because of an abortion that she has had. Could you just take a few minutes and
share with her what the mercy of God really is like and how it can affect her
right now?

Kim Ketola:

Well, I know that the following day God provided someone who said I had an
abortion and allowed me to confess it out loud to another person. I said, "I did
too." She held me and we wept, and in that moment I felt a supernatural
knowledge that my child was safe in the arms of our savior. This is what really
released me, that I no longer needed to protect and guard that awful day. I no
longer needed to stay attached to the grief over the loss of my child. I want you
to know that as a woman who's had an abortion we can so easily get our
emotional wires crossed. We read that grief as guilt. Sometimes, we're
Christian, we know we're forgiven but we can't let it go. I want to tell you that's probably grief, and it's not God's plan for you to languish in it even one more day.

There are abortion recovery ministries in the pregnancy health community
everywhere that can help you and get you started on a pathway to peace,
pathway to joy and a pathway to freedom to be able to share your experience,
when it's appropriate, with others.

Sam Rohrer:

On this 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade and all that has happened after that our
focus has been on life. Celebrating life, because God did at creation and he does
still to this very day. Our last segment, we want to continue as we complete the
solution segment here the theme restoring a culture of life, God's remedy. Now,
in John 3:16 the verse in the Book of John starts with the words, "Because God
so loved the world that he gave his only son." That was Jesus Christ, who came
and furthered the plan of redemption started at creation by God the father. He,
Jesus Christ, provided the only way to heal the deepest pains, the ugliest scars,
and to reclaim so much of what has been lost.

Now, in this solution segment we want to continue with Kim Ketola about how
she found healing and comfort after submitting to an abortion many, many

years ago. Kim, your book that you wrote it's about your life journey, some of
what you just shared in the last segment. As a mother you were confronted with
a pregnancy that was overwhelming. You opted for an abortion. Yet, in your
grief some time years later you said you found redemption and hope and all
that God gives in response from doing things his way when you trusted Christ as
your savior. Now, I want you to go just a little bit further into this, because you
are speaking for hundreds of thousands of women, and you've shared some
insights into what you went through in your heart and your mind.

Go through just a little bit of that again as we look at God's remedy for healing.
Now, you are looking back and you've been healed. You've given testimony of
that, but there are a lot of women, fathers perhaps, husbands who maybe have
been involved in the whole of this thing as well and they have not yet found that
healing. Go into that just a little bit more if you can in this solution segment.

Kim Ketola:

Sure. Our solution, you know I worked up my material for the book, for Cradle
My Heart, while giving conference workshops while I was traveling with Ruth
Graham. We had about an hour and a half to deal with this topic, if you can
imagine. What can you possibly give someone about something so complex?
The answer is the gospel, and the answer is these healing encounters that Jesus
had with individuals, not parables. No. I'm talking about the portraits in our
family album of the Bible. We started with the lame man at the pool in John's
Gospel when Jesus asked him do you want to get well. The first time you read
that you're like, "What in the world? The guy's been lame on the sidewalk for 38 years. What kind of a question is that?"

I have found after abortion many of us don't want to get well. We cling to it. It
becomes part of our identity. "I will never forgive that. I can never be forgiven."
No, that is not Jesus' purpose and he zeroed in on blame, and he's talking about
how to motivate ourselves to move on from blame. As it says in Philippians,
forgetting the past, press on. Jesus said, "Do you want to get well? Get up. Pick
up your mat and walk. Pick up your baggage and let's get out of here." Then we
have the encounter of, of course, the woman at the well where Jesus said, "I
know every …" Her testimony was he told me everything I ever did, and yet he
came to talk to her and not about her sin but about her thirst and about true
worship. There's a key for you. Get in church and find a way to worship in truth
and be in community and in fellowship with other believers who can lift you up,
and you can confess and be healed as it says in James.

Oh my goodness, the story of the bleeding woman at the hem of his robe, and
again, this stunning question: "Who touched me?" You're Jesus. You know
everything. Why would he ask that? Because he wanted her to be able to stand
up and say, "What I could not do for myself to make myself pure in my impurity,
Jesus has just done for me. He has imputed righteousness to me miraculously."
What I love about her story is she's the only one that Jesus calls his daughter.
After abortion, we have this bodily shame that we know we've been defiled. We
know that our bodies have been misused. The very purpose of our female
anatomy has been disrupted and destroyed, and in many cases we've been maimed. Our fertility has been forever impacted. We can't fix that, but Jesus
comes and makes us clean, and then he calls us his daughters.

Oh my goodness, the things that Jesus did for the individuals who met him and
walked away healed I think are so, so powerful. I wrote this book for those who
can't go to an abortion recovery ministry immediately, or maybe they just don't
want to. It's not meant to be a complete resource, so you've got to be in
fellowship with other people and you've got to feel their arms around you.
You've got to allow them to receive your tears and assure you in person of God's
love for you.

Sam Rohrer:

Well, Kim, I wrote down a couple of things that you were saying there. You said
and identified these points of decision. One, you need to want to be healed. You
need to want healing. You said must be the desire to worship, which means
there's got to be a God focus. There will never be any healing without looking
towards the healer, that's God. Come to Christ, that's what redemption is all
about, and then when we put our faith and trust in him, he cleans all of those
things that have happened in the past, and then you stated finally must stay in
fellowship, because we need each other. I think those are great, great points.
Kim, have you found anyone, have you run into any woman or anyone your
point in life where this simple approach to healing has not yet worked? Will it
work for anyone?

Kim Ketola:

What is the GK Chesterton quote? It's not that people have tried the gospel and
found it wanting, it's that they've never tried it at all. No. I haven't, and in fact I've heard from many, many women that the material that we assembled in this
book has been so helpful, because again, it's the personality, it's the ministry
personality of Jesus Christ brought to life and applied to this issue, to our issue. I
think that's the help that people need. It's not that they don't really want to
believe. It's that they don't understand what it means for me. They don't know how to place themselves in a bigger story. Instead what happens when we don't
know how to do that we become sitting ducks and we become extras in Satan's
evil drama. We don't even know he's directing the action. We don't even know where all of the condemnation and all of the lack of peace and problems are
coming from. This is the beauty of life in Christ.

Sam Rohrer:

Well, Kim, we are just about done. Ladies and gentlemen, you're hearing something
that probably pertains to a lot of you. First of all, I recommend go to Jesus
Christ, clearly, obviously. Go to the word of God. It's the book that tells us all
about it. Kim, you share a personal testimony in your book. Where can people
go perhaps to get a copy of your book? Restate the title of it again and where
they can go to pick up your personal history.

Kim Ketola:

Thank you. I appreciate that. It's Cradle My Heart: Finding God's Love After
Abortion, and it's available wherever you can find books. Our website is
cradlemyheart.org. It's a love offering. All of our net proceeds go to the
pregnancy health community, so we don't have any profit motive in this
whatsoever. We're blessed to be able to do that, and we also are blessed to have some donors. If you can't afford it, we can make books available to you
without expense as well.

Sam Rohrer:

Well, Kim Ketola, thank you so much for being with us today on Stand In The

Gap Today,

Separation of Church and State— A Grave Misunderstanding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Sara Silva on Unsplash

1-16-18: Is Trump’s Philosophy of “Putting America First” in conflict with Biblical Truth?

Isaac Crockett:   

All right. Well, thank you so much for tuning into our program today. We are joined, of course, by the honorable Sam Rohrer, who is the president of the American Pastors Network and also evangelist Dave Kistler, who’s the president of the North Carolina chapter of the Pastors Network. He’s the founder and president of Hope to the Hill Ministries. I’m Pastor Isaac Crockett, senior pastor at Hamburg Bible Church in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

Well, as we begin our program today, I want to think back to yesterday, where Martin Luther King Jr. Day we started out with some powerful and timely quotes directly from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today, I would like to revisit a topic that we’ve talked about often and that really kind of hinges on that part of equality that we talked about yesterday and that is the topic of immigration in the United States. I want to examine what the Bible teaches us about this topic.

Now, many in our listening audience have heard me before and you know that my family is about as much of the all-American melting pot as one can get. My grandparents immigrated to the United States from different countries. They met here in college. My mother grew up in Europe. I’ve had family members living in five different continents and my wife immigrated to the United States from India. She became a citizen as a child in elementary or middle school. A few weeks ago, my family, we were walking into a restaurant, my wife and my three children, when two women who I don’t know were walking past and one of them started kind of staring at me and staring at my family. Then she turned to me and she said, “Mail order bride, huh?” Evidently, she thought it was strange that I would be with my wife, who is of Indian descent, and our children, who take after my wife, considerably darker than I am.

I thought about that. I thought wow, that was very unusual. It’s not normal. Usually, my family and I, we fit well in our country because we have such a diverse country. Dave, I wanted to just ask you on your thoughts. I know that your wife’s family immigrated to our country and then also know that as an evangelist, you’ve traveled all over the states, but also, all over the world. Just like to get your thoughts on this. Do you think that America is more diverse or less diverse than other countries and do you think that the people in America, that Americans are more accepting or less accepting of foreigners than most countries?

Dave Kistler: 

Well, Sam, or, excuse me, Isaac, that’s a great question. I think it depends on which country you would compare America to. Obviously, we are an incredibly diverse country. We’re probably on par with most of the European countries, certainly with the United Kingdom, but if you were compare us to maybe African countries or other countries, we may be more or less accepting and more or less diverse. I think we’re pretty much on par with the European continent.

Isaac Crockett:

Very interesting. I think sometimes we get kicked around as if we’re not very accepting when in reality, we probably are very much similar to other countries. Well, Sam, our president has made it clear that his goal is to put America first in all of our policies. Now, many people have reacted to that policy of him putting America first, including a lot of Christians and speaking myself as somebody and younger evangelical, I know a lot of my peers have criticized him and have claimed that that is very unloving and some even saying ungodly. Looking at that policy of putting America first, taking our nation’s and making our nation’s efforts important, looking at from a biblical worldview, putting on our biblical lenses, so to speak, is that in line with the Christian philosophy, do you think?

Sam Rohrer:

Well, Isaac, it absolutely is to favor one’s country, to support one’s country. Why do I say that? Well, because the idea that countries are nations factors into it that if we understand God’s view, a biblical worldview, we understand that God forms nations. The Book of Acts it actually talks about God laying out the nations with their borders, geographical borders, from before time, so God established them because God works through nations. He raised it up. That’s why He instituted civil government, which He talks about in Romans 13 and other places and so nations have borders. Nations have personalities. Think of Israel, very distinctive nation. God picked Israel and God said, “I’m going to make of you, Abraham, a great nation and I am going to bless the nations of the world,” so clearly God favors nations. With them comes along the ability and the right to support them and to pray for them. When we pray for those in authority, we are to pray for … We don’t pray necessarily for everybody in positions of authority everywhere in the world. The idea is that we pray for those in authority over us and who we answer to.


Isaac, the idea of our nation first is biblical. It fits the biblical precedent and it fits the model as what God established with Israel, so anyway, so I’m just going to stop right there, but no, the president is on solid ground when he talks about we should favor our nation because this is where we are citizens. We’re hopefully citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, but we are citizens of the United States, if we are, and therefore, we have a loyalty to this nation.

Isaac Crockett: 

Thank you, Sam. That helps as a Christian seeking to put God first, being a citizen of Heaven to realize that we can still be patriotic and still be a citizen of Heaven. Along with that, Dave, I wonder as we think through some of the things that are being said about our president because the refugees coming into our country and we’ve discussed this a lot on our program. That’s something that comes up often and again, comparing our country as a country that was founded on Christian principles, unfortunately, we’re getting away from those principles in many ways, but what makes us good is the good things that we were founded upon. Do you think that the average Muslim-majority country is anywhere near as accepting of foreigners and of people from other religions as we are in America and even with the refugee crisis, do we see Muslim countries stepping up to do more for Muslim refugees than what America and European countries are doing?

Dave Kistler:

Well, Isaac, let me answer the second question first. The answer is a definitive no, we do not see the Muslim countries stepping up and accepting refugees. In fact, over the last couple of years, as we’ve seen this influx onto the European continent of Muslim refugees, the Muslim world has not responded. They’re expecting Europe to respond. They’re expecting America by extension to respond, but they are not responding.

Then to answer your first question, are Muslim countries as accepting of foreigners as we are here in America? Again, the answer to that is a very definitive no. I have traveled a good portion of the world. I have been in countries that are either majority Muslim or are approaching, very rapidly going to become majority Muslim and here’s the dirty little secret. It’s the grand hypocrisy. What the Muslim world crusades for in America, what they want to do is have their opportunity to worship in their mosques and live their Sharia law lifestyle. If that were reversed and Christians were to call for the same thing in a majority-Muslim country, they would be denied. They have been denied. They are being denied. There’s a grand hypocrisy here going on, Isaac.

Isaac Crockett:  

Thank you, Dave. That’s good, I think, for all of us to remember this context. I know growing up in a family where my grandfather was in the Dutch Underground, he saw the totalitarian regime of Hitler firsthand. He loved this country. He loved this country before he ever came to it and became a citizen and yet, he loved God. He got saved actually seeing Christians give their lives for the cause in the Dutch Underground and was able to come over to America eventually. He loved what America stands for and he loved being a citizen and so what an important time to remember the context of what God has done in this country and to be able to be proud of that.

Well, welcome back to the program. We are talking about the issues that we are facing in our country, especially with this topic of immigration. I want to start out this segment by playing a clip of then Senator Barack Obama when he was running for president in 2008. In this clip, he’s going to promise comprehensive immigration reform and border security as a top priority in his first year as president. Russ, if you could go ahead and play clip one, please.

Barack Obama: 

The American people need us to put an end to the petty partisanship that passes for politics in Washington. They need us to enact comprehensive immigration reform once and for all. We can’t wait 20 years from now to do it. We can’t wait 10 years from now to do it. We need it done by the end of my first term as president of the United States of America and I will make it a top priority in my first year as president not only because we have an obligation to secure our borders and get control of who comes in and out of our country, not only because we have to crack down on employers who are abusing undocumented immigrants instead of hiring citizens, but because we have to finally bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.

Isaac Crockett:

All right. Sam, I think there’s a lot of things he said in that speech that are very good. In fact, I almost think that if President Trump were to say those same things, the liberals, progressives, the mainstream media would take it apart and claim that it was being racist or something. Unfortunately, I do not think that President Obama tried to make comprehensive immigration reform and border security a top priority during his first year of office. In fact, I believe it wasn’t until 2012 that he actually enacted DACA. Could you maybe tell our listeners why DACA is unconstitutional and explain why President Trump and his Department of Justice said that they really had to reverse it for legal reasons?

Sam Rohrer: 

Isaac, I would like to and if I could, let me interject a thought here because I think you made a good point. You said what Barack Obama said long ago, if President Trump would have said the same things, what would we see? I want to bring something here into application because what Barack Obama said and what Donald Trump said is that they both recognized a problem that faces all Americans, all the citizens know it. The difference is what is the goal of immigration reform? What was Barack Obama meaning by what he said? Well, it’s evidenced by what he did. What he said and what he did was he also, other clips could be played, he made it a point, if you recall, where he said his goal was to fundamentally change America. That was including that it wasn’t run by old white men. He made those statements. He wanted to change the mix and the culture of America.

Well, how do you do that? Well, through immigration. When Barack Obama said he wants to have immigration reform, he used the right words, but his goal was clearly something totally different than a Donald Trump who says immigration reform is needed because everybody knows it, but I want to make America great again. One diminishes the role of America and our culture as we have known it, Barack Obama. Donald Trump said we have to control immigration or we’re going to fundamentally forever change the culture of America so that it’s no longer what it used to be.

Into that context walks the whole DACA thing. Now, that’s when President Obama stepped in, made an executive order to try and make the children of illegal immigrants basically legal. Well, he couldn’t do that because immigration law is passed by Congress, so it was an executive order. President Trump has to deal with it because it’s a matter of being up in statutory law and so when the president just a couple weeks ago said we need to deal with this issue, he made it very clear Congress needed to deal with this issue and to make it a statutory, congressional-acted thing because he said, “I don’t have the power to actually do it.” You have that circumstance. You’ve got the children here. Barack Obama said all the way up to 31 years of age we’re going to let them stay if they want. Well, that was not something that he could do.

I’m answering your question in a different way, that President Trump has got to deal with it because President Obama did by executive order, usurped congressional authority relative to any matter of immigration, which happens to focus on the children who are here by illegal parents, immigrants, but Congress is the one that has to deal with it. That’s what President Trump has been appropriately saying. We got a problem. Everybody knows it, but Congress, you’ve got to deal with it. He’s saying we’ve got to deal with it so that it makes America great, basically, what America used to be and the immigration law reflecting that, counter, though, to what Barack Obama was doing, saying, and enacting.

Isaac Crockett:

With that, Sam, I was very disappointed when Barack Obama did not make comprehensive immigration reform. I know a lot of dreamers and the difficulties that they go through because of what happened and by putting it in this temporary executive order that every two years they have to be declared again, they’re not really citizens. They’re in no-man’s land. They’re kind of in limbo. Dave, kind of along with that, in this speech, President Obama said that we have to secure our borders and get control and he talked about bringing the undocumented immigrants or illegal immigrants out of the shadows. I have heard harrowing stories from some of my friends who have come over to the US illegally. I wouldn’t wish those experiences on anyone. They are not like the Superbowl commercial of a mother and daughter jumping on a pickup truck and coming to the border. A large number of those who cross illegally, they die. Many of the women and children, if not most of them, are violated in the worst imaginable ways. When they get to a place in America, many of them are still at the mercy of those same corrupt human traffickers that brought them here illegally. Dave, can this sort of painful and violent system of illegal immigration, how can anybody consider that humane or helpful to keep that going and why do you think maybe many progressives and liberals are against a crackdown on this illegal activity?

Dave Kistler: 

Well, again, Isaac, the questions you are asking are outstanding and again exposes the grand hypocrisy on the part of so many in Washington, DC who claim that we need to be a nation that just accepts anyone and everyone and they overlook the very scenario you’ve just described. It is horrific and women are treated in the most horrific ways when they attempt to immigrate here and many of those that attempt to come die either before they get here or die after they get here. It is an incredibly tragic scenario.

The question you asked though that demands an answer is why do they not want to crack down on this kind of activity. Why do they want to continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally and these kind of things happen? Well, you’ve got to understand and Sam, I think, alluded to it very well in the last response that he gave you. We’ve got those that want a globalist approach as opposed to a president right now that wants to have a very nationalistic approach. I don’t mean by that white nationalism. I mean a strong love of country and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think we established in the first segment that that’s biblical.

Some on the part of the left, some of the progressives, see this influx of illegal immigrants as a great way to pad their voter base. That’s a very selfish thing, while others have a far more sinister thing in mind. They literally want to see the influx of immigrants coming into this country illegally to reshape the entire United States of America and remake it, as Sam so eloquently said Barack Obama stated very, very clearly. Either way, this has to stop and as Sam said, our president must deal with it.

Isaac Crockett:  

Sam, when it comes to DACA, when it comes to the refugee crisis, many well-meaning Christians and we talked about this just a little bit, but they’ve spoken out against President Trump for his actions. Could you maybe share with our listeners some of the things, some of the Scriptures that these professing Christians are twisting out of context to call for open borders and then could you maybe give us some biblical context for having the borders that you started to allude to in the first segment?

Sam Rohrer:  

Yeah, I can just briefly, Isaac, and that is this. The whole concept of nations is God’s idea. That’s where we got to start, God’s idea. The United Nations concept of today are trying to convince people that borders mean nothing, that we’re global citizens, rather than citizens of a particular nation. God established nations. Acts 17 talks about that, so we have nations. Nations have borders. Nations have a common worship of a common view of God. They have a common language. That’s the definition of a nation. When there is an attack on those things, there is an attack on nationhood, which then moves us right into the global concept which ultimately we know as believers there will one day stand up and there’s going to be an antichrist that’s going to stand up and take a leadership of the nations of the world and they’re going to yield to him their leadership. That right now is not what we want to do. That’s not where we’re going. That’s only where we’re going to end up, but the nationhood concept comes from God Himself, Isaac, and so open borders, any of those kinds of things, common, multiple languages within a country. They all speak against what God has established for nations and it works against God’s plan for the nations.

Isaac Crockett:

Dave, we’ve all heard a lot of emotional, impassioned diatribes against President Trump, saying that he’s even a racist, but when we think especially of these dreamers who were brought over as children, does the fault of that situation lie on the families that brought them over and the countries that were so horrible they felt like they had to escape or does that fault fall on our president and our people?

Dave Kistler:

Isaac, let me say this very, very quickly. Our president is not a racist. If you’ve ever visited any of his properties, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, in New York, and I visited some of them and I will tell you this, he employs all kinds of ethnicities and nationalities. Those people love working there. It’s obvious they are treated well and their response is over the top good toward the president, so he’s not a racist. There is enough blame to go around on a number of levels. Our immigration policy has encouraged people to come here and attempt to come here illegally, so we do bear a little bit of the blame. The countries that are so horrific that people want to escape them, of course, bear some blame, as well.

Isaac Crockett: 

Well, thanks so much for summing that up to me. This is a very important topic. I hope that you’ve enjoyed listening to it. We have a lot more to talk about in this way. I’ve lived in Central America, worked in Mexico. I have a lot of friends who have come over here and so I want to continue talking about this. Well, we’ve been talking about immigration and seeing what’s been happening under the new administration regards to DACA and to refugees. We’ve looked at biblical teachings on nationhood and boundaries and borders, but I want to tie this into what was talked about earlier this week on this program.

It was pointed out that the Muslim population in America is growing significantly. Sam, you referred to that a few moments ago, as well, and under President Obama, a large number of the refugees coming to our country were identifying as Muslim. Now, in November of 2015, towards the end of his time as president, there was an article in the Washington Times and this was the title. The title was, “US Discriminates Against Christian Refugees, Accepts 96% Muslims, 3% Christians.” The author of that article pointed out that of the thousands of Syrian refugees being accepted to our country, only 3% were Christians and 96% were Muslims.

Now, in an interesting turn of events, an article that I read earlier this month in the Washington Examiner has this title, “In Switch, Trump Favors Christian Refugees Six to One Over Muslims.” The author in that article, Paul Bedard, writes, “Since the fiscal year began, 60% of new refugees admitted into the United States have been Christian and just 13% Muslim.” Dave, I want to go to you on this one. What is your reaction to this major shift in refugees under the current administration?

Dave Kistler:  

Well, Isaac, one of the things we need to recognize and need to never forget is that immigration policy reflects priorities. It reflects a nation’s priorities and it certainly is a strong indicator of a president’s priorities and under the Obama administration, the president was merely being in those days consistent with his philosophy. Many of those listening to this program right now will remember the now very famous speech where the president said America is not a Christian nation. In fact, if we were to calculate the number of Muslims in this country, we could be considered one of the world’s leading Muslim countries. He constantly demeaned the Judeo-Christian background of this country. Now you come to 2017 and 2018, we have a different president, Donald Trump, and his immigration policy reflects the priorities that he believes and I’m going to say it this way, the priorities that are consistent with the founding of this country. We are a Judeo-Christian nation. We were founded upon such and so my response to this dramatic shift is that it cannot and will not be anything but good for the United States of America.

Isaac Crockett: 

All right. Sam, Dave has said this is a good shift. It’s showing a priority back to our Judeo-Christian roots. It’s also showing that we believe that Christians who are being persecuted in the Middle East need to be able to find refuge here. What do you attribute this shift in refugees to? Are there policy changes that President Trump has made directly that are relating to this matter? What’s going on that’s making this happen so fast?

Sam Rohrer:

Well, I think what’s happening, Isaac, and Dave pointed well to it, you have to say it’s an understanding of what constitutes a nation. Every nation is comprised of a certain body of law, a certain predominant ideology. Effectively, the definitions of a nation is a common borders, common language, common view of God. That’s the definition of a nation. Well, here in the United States, God is the God of the Bible. The Constitution is the governing body, the highest body of law based on biblical principles.

You go to Saudi Arabia, you go to Syria, you go to Iran, it’s not the Bible and it’s certainly not a common view of God. Allah is not the God of the Bible, so in effect, what you have here is that you have this common view of what constitutes a nation, but it’s based on a God and we are in a constitutional republic, so Barack Obama, when he did what he did, he was consistent with his philosophy. His philosophy is not governed by the Constitution, nor is it governed by our law. What you see Donald Trump doing, when he stands, takes his oath, and puts his hands on the Bible, he’s operating consistently, more consistently with what our Constitution says, what the Bible says, and what our law says and so this is a very, very big contrast that we’re seeing here in this matter and this president, I think, understands his oath, hand on the Bible, not the Koran, and the Constitution based on God’s word, not the Koran or not some Marxist document that a Soviet Union may be following. Those are the distinctions. Comes right down to what you perceive as the basis of law.

Isaac Crockett:

It really goes back to what we were talking about in that first segment is that they can use same terminology about immigration reform, but they have different goals. We’re seeing that President Trump has the goal of seeing our Constitution as the law of the land and the moral authority of the Bible that gave us the Constitution is being used. Well, it really brings up something that came up in our show yesterday that Gary had talked about Voice of the Martyrs and the persecution of Christians.

Dave, you’ve traveled all over the country and you see how we are very comfortable as Christians in our country for the most part. We don’t see a lot of persecution in the way our brothers and sisters overseas have. We’ve had people on our program who have faced persecution, especially in the Middle East, people on our program who have lost families and friends, who’ve been tortured, even killed for Christ. Dave, what would you say to our listeners so that we could encourage them and encourage ourselves to pray more for the persecuted church?

Dave Kistler:

Well, Isaac, I would say this. All it takes is listening to one of the many guests as you’ve referenced that has been on this program citing and I’m thinking of one dear brother who watched his own physical brother beheaded because of his faith in Jesus Christ. Of course, this occurred in a majority-Muslim country. In addition to listening to that, all it takes is traveling outside these United States into some of these countries that are now rapidly falling under the sway of Islamic ideology and Islamic Sharia law and you see something that motivates you like you will never be motivated to pray.

I’m reminded, Isaac, of a trip to the African continent. I remember a young man, young pastor coming up to me. He was so full of the joy of the Lord. He was one of the most wonderful representatives and advertisements for the gospel of Christ I’ve ever met. A gentleman saw me talking to him. He pulled me aside later and he said, “Dave, that young man’s church is surrounded on three sides by Muslim mosques.” Then he said this. He said, “Unless something dramatically changes, that young man will one day die for his faith because he is so vocal, so vibrant about sharing the gospel.” Those kind of things will motivate you to pray for the persecuted church. We don’t see much of that in the United States of America, but unless something changes, unless we get our immigration laws fixed, we’re going to see more of that in the United States, as well as around the world.

Isaac Crockett:

Very powerful. Dave, that reminds me of very close family member of mine. I won’t say who and what country in Africa it was, but he and his wife were discipling a young girl whose family was Muslim. She asked, “What does it mean to take up your cross?” They said, “What would happen if your parents find out that you’re studying the Bible?” She said, “Oh, I understand.” Shortly after that, she came back beaten and bloody and she said, “I have accepted Christ as my savior and I’ve taken up my cross.” We don’t see that in our country so many times. Sam, what can we do as comfortable Christians in America? What can we do to pray for, but not just to pray for, other things that we could do to help our persecuted brothers and sisters of Christ in other parts of the world?

Dave Kistler:

Well, Isaac, it’s a great question. One of the most fundamental things as American Christians we know they just need to understand what the Bible says because most Christians in America who call that name by their own words, Isaac, don’t really have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To be a cultural Christian, which is just to say I live in a Christian nation and I like the benefits that come from Christian laws is far different than to be a true believer in Jesus Christ, who understands who God is through Jesus Christ and the salvation that He provides and to live accordingly.

What do we do is that American Christians really need to look in the mirror and say, “Do I really know Jesus Christ as my own personal savior or am I trusting in something else?” That’s where it starts. If we don’t understand as a true believer in Jesus Christ in this country, Isaac, we will lose our nation because we will not understand the basis of our laws or who God is through Jesus Christ that makes all this possible. I submit that part of the true reason we’re in trouble in our country because we have too many cultural Christians who enjoy the benefits of what God have done, but they don’t know Jesus Christ personally.

Isaac Crockett: 

Amen. Our currency says in God we trust and a biblical worldview of God’s redemptive plan will make all the difference in the world when it comes to this topic of immigration, of praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Welcome back, folks. We’ve been talking about the diversity that we have in our country and the strengths that we have here in America because of the melting pot effect that we have, but especially because of the foundation that we have in our founding documents on the word of God and from a biblical, Judeo-Christian, Bible-believing worldview.

We’ve also seen that there are many dangers and warnings out there for a convoluted and broken immigration system and so now, as we’ve talked through so much of that, I want us to be able to wrap these things up with some solutions to what’s going on. I want to think about our opportunity to use this country that we live in as Americans to reach souls from all around the world that are here in our own backyard. Before we go into that, Sam, could you maybe once again just briefly delineate the role of government on this issue of immigration and of boundaries and nationhood as opposed to the role of the individual or the role of the church in responding to other individuals who are in our communities that may be from other parts of the world?

Sam Rohrer:  

Absolutely, Isaac. I think that’s a great, great question. When we on this program talk about biblical worldview and I’m going to use that word right now, that means looking at the world from a biblical perspective as God looks at it. We can’t talk about government or church or the individual or differences between nations without saying well, what does God say about them? Well, what we know is that God has these institutions. He has the individual. We all answer to God independently for ourself. He has the family that now is its own structure, fundamental bedrock of all nations. Then you have civil government, which can vary one nation to the other, but that’s what forms the nation. Then you have the church. All of these work together in God’s plan.

Now, the purpose of government is to, Romans 13, enact justice. Now, what that mean? That means praise those who do well and I’m going to put in praise those who do well biblically according to the definition of what God says is good, and punish those who do evil, to enact justice against those who break that law. That’s the purpose of civil government, to put into effect a structure that can allow all people to come and experience freedom. When that happens, then you have a nation to which people want to come. When you have a nation that does not do what God wants, then you have a nation from which people want to flee. The reason that people wanted to come to the United States is because we’ve had a system based on biblical principles, God’s design, and so like a light to the nations, the people have come and want to come for the freedom that is here. If we don’t keep it anchored, Isaac, to biblical principles and the purpose which God made it, we will not only lose our freedom, but the light to the nations will also go out. It’s very, very critical, but it’s anchored on God’s word and God’s design for what a nation is and its relationship to who God is.

Isaac Crockett:

What a wonderful reminder and everything we do is connected to that and even as Christians, we’re told to walk carefully in these evil days as children of light, not as children of darkness, so important. Dave, kind of building on that and we’ve been talking some about this in between the breaks and you’ve shared some things that have been happening in your own ministry, but you’re an evangelist. You get opportunities to evangelize all over the country. How can we use the diversity that we have in this country as individual Christians and churches and how can we take opportunities to evangelize the world by witnessing and evangelizing to our own neighbors?

Dave Kistler:

Well, Isaac, let me back up and just kind of underscore something that Sam so powerfully said in his last response. He’s talking about areas of jurisdictional authority. The government has jurisdictional authority and they are responsible before God, Romans 13, to do certain things. Sam stated it about as clearly as it could be stated. They’re to enact justice. That is the role of government, praise good, punish evil. The church has a different area of jurisdictional authority. That authority and that commission is sometimes called the Great Commission, is to win a world to Jesus Christ. The two are not in conflict with each other. We still have laws that we have to live by. We have a government that must protect its citizenry and allow people into the country only through legal means and those coming to the country that are intent on bettering the country, being a part of the system, not trying to overthrow the system.

All of that being said, with all of the people that are coming into our country, we now have a mission field that has come to us. We don’t even have to leave this country necessarily to find a mission field that is global in nature. They’re here among us and I praise God for this in very recent days. We had the opportunity of seeing two Muslim young men come to know Jesus Christ as savior who have come into the United States of America and, by the way, came in legally and they have had the opportunity now to trust Christ and live now for him in a country that affords them the freedom and the liberty to live for Christ, not one that attempts to squelch that.

Isaac Crockett: 

Well, what a powerful opportunity, what a responsibility that we have with this light that we have been given from God to share that and historically, America has been a great country to send forth missionaries. You know-