Pastors and Churches Must Understand Biblical and Moral Responsibility of Safety

In the wake of a tragic church shooting in Texas just after Christmas that left a congregation and a community devastated, many churches are beginning the new year on a somber note when it comes to considering safety and security.

Following other sad and shocking acts of violence in churches over recent years, the American Pastors Network (APN), the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, took a lead in helping pastors and church leaders work through a perplexing societal problem.

“Unfortunately, church security is now a pressing matter in our nation,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “No longer can we fully count on the peaceful and serene sanctuary of the church. It’s clear that those with evil intentions, whether against the church itself or those inside, have sought to steal and kill and destroy, as we witnessed at West Freeway Church of Christ in a Fort Worth, Texas, suburb. We live in a culture where our churches must seriously think about how to keep people safe. Just as a shepherd carries a staff to guard his sheep, so must every pastor employ ways to protect his flock.”

Rohrer and other APN leaders have developed 10 recommendations for churches to consider when it comes to the important matter of church security.

  1. Understand the biblical and moral responsibility of safety. It is the duty of pastors and church leadership to do all they can to protect the lives of those in the congregation.
  2. Develop and train a security team. Dedicate certain individuals, whether staff or volunteers, to undertake the important issue of security. Train these personnel how to identify potential threats and how to de-escalate potential threat situations. During services or functions, outfit the team in plain clothes.
  3. Perform a risk assessment. Where is the church vulnerable in its facility and grounds? Consider a community threat assessment as well.
  4. Implement security protocols. Consider these suggestions: 1) Lock doors after services begin; 2) Post security team members at entrances; 3) Conduct a regular, annual re-assessment of the security plan.

 

  1. Install security cameras. Consider video surveillance to document and record potential threats or incidents.

 

  1. Establish a medical response team. Mobilize medical personnel already within the congregation who can take action if injuries ever occur.

 

  1. Evaluate the legal parameters for security measures. Research insurance requirements and conduct a liability assessment. Identify state civil laws regarding security measures, which can vary from state to state.

 

  1. Create an evacuation plan. Be sure the security team knows how to best evacuate churchgoers of all ages and mobility ranges, and consider creating another key team to assist. Practice the plan through drills.

 

  1. Involve local law enforcement in the security plan. Tell local police departments and other emergency responders about the security plan, perhaps through an evening meeting. They may be able to offer additional suggestions or protocols.

 

  1. Communicate the new or existing security measures with the congregation. Members will appreciate knowing the church has a plan to keep them safe.

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American Pastors Network: Israel and U.S. Share Commonality of Political Turmoil

While many Americans dread the drama leading up to American presidential elections every four years, Israel is heading for its third election in less than one year.

And the American Pastors Network (APN) says the two nations currently share at least one commonality—political turmoil. APN follows news about Israel closely, especially as it relates to American politics and American Christians—and in light of the fact that Israel will be one of the most important 2020 election issues. In fact, APN focuses on Israel at least once a week on its daily “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program, which airs on about 400 stations nationwide, as well as addresses news coming out of the Middle East from a biblical and constitutional perspective.

“If we think Washington, D.C., and the American political system is in turmoil—and it is—the Israeli political system is perhaps in greater turmoil, having been unable to form a working parliament and now being forced to proceed to a third general national election in less than 12 months,” Rohrer said. “For Israel, however, this government crisis continues in the midst of imminent war with Iran and it’s coalition members. This developing situation is significant for Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and the entire Middle East. Earlier this month, the world marked the two-year anniversary of President Trump declaring the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Linked together and with other facts, Biblical prophecy is literally coming alive before our eyes.”

Since the historic move in May 2018 to dissolve the parliament when Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a majority government, each succeeding month has been historic, Rohrer noted. Moving into a second election in September, then still unable to form a government, the nation now moves to a third election scheduled for March 2.

“What is also troubling,” Rohrer added, “is that Israel sits at the precipice of war with Iran and its Islamic neighbors, the acting prime minister is being hounded by his political enemies and is under indictment for bribery, and there is no one at the moment who seems posed to be able to rule the nation. Understanding that Israel is even in existence because of a miracle of God Himself, many may wonder if the disfunction and concerning status of the Israeli government is unknown to God. Unfortunately, there appears to be no reason to believe that another election will produce any different results. This is a serious and significant political crisis for Israel.”

Additionally, Rohrer said, Netanyahu’s enemies have seemed to fuel the current crisis with legal challenges and allegations of bribery against him. Yet, even in the midst of this, Netanyahu has been very bold and continues to warn the world about Iran.

According to The Times of Israel, Netanyahu said on Dec. 1, that “While the Iranian regime is killing its own people, European countries rush to support that very murderous regime.”

“The enemies of Israel—led by Iran—must be taking advantage of this situation,” Rohrer said. “Another report indicated that Iran is building massive tunnels in Syria for the storage of Iranian missiles. The Pentagon is also considering sending thousands more U.S. military personnel to the Syrian/Iraqi border to fortify resistance against Iranian expansion. This continued military build-up has both geo-political and prophetical meaning.”

With ongoing headlines from Israel, Rohrer added that American Christians should remain supportive of Israel and pray for peace.

“Christians should be more engaged, more passionate and more prayerful when it comes to Israel,” he added. “We know God draws people in and calls them to be involved and that the American connection to Israel is blessed by God. Therefore, we should also link these two nations together and their impending elections in prayer. If Christians don’t have a heart for Israel, they should. If they don’t have a heart for our own country, they should.”

American Pastors Network: God Calls Churches, Pastors and People in the Pews to ‘Stand in the Gap’ for Life

While Christians are called to protect God-given life every minute of every day, the month of January places an important, historical significance on this biblical charge. Since Jan. 22, 1973, when the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in America, upwards of 60 million babies have lost their lives.

During Sanctity of Human Life Month in January, the American Pastors Network (APN) is reminding churches, pastors and people in the pews of their responsibility to stand up for the unborn. After all, says APN President Sam Rohrer, Scripture reminds believers that a child is developed in God’s image at the point of conception.

“While politicians often debate pro-life laws based on the point of conception, Scripture reveals God’s view of life in its earliest words,” Rohrer said in this week’s “Stand in the Gap Minute” radio series. “Genesis 1:27 notes that God created people in His image. This includes life from the point of creation—or conception. The issue is not the timing at which life is sacred, but the fact that all human life is sacred from the moment of creation. For example, how many know that a newly developing child’s heartbeat exists at just 22 days? This is before most women even know they are pregnant. We dare not turn a blind eye to those created in God’s image. Rather, God’s Word repeatedly highlights the value of human life. We are created on purpose and for His purposes.”

Rohrer went onto say that this realization takes on a new meaning when humans are aware that God participated in every moment of their creation. The Christian foundation of the pro-life movement is based on God’s view of our lives, and Psalm 139 reveals key details.

“God ‘forms’ our inward parts,” Rohrer said. “He ‘knits’ us together in the womb. Verse 16 of this Psalm notes, ‘Your eyes saw my unformed substance.’ God’s view is exceedingly more detailed than the greatest ultrasound! Because God values our lives at such an early stage and with intricate detail, we can conclude we are to care for children in the womb with a similar attitude. The preborn child deserves our highest protection and greatest devotion. 

“Therefore, God’s people must not grow weary in standing for life,” he added. “We must take a clear stand for those whose lives need our help the most. Likewise in Scripture, Proverbs 31:8 commands us to ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.’ Though the original context addresses those in poverty, the principle also applies to protecting preborn children from abortion. These children cannot speak for themselves—but we can and must! When we are afraid or doubtful that our voices don’t matter, we must reconsider. Every time we speak up, we give another child a better chance to live. Yes, God is calling us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Rohrer also noted that even though upwards of 60 million American children have been murdered in the security of their mother’s womb since Roe v. Wade—or one abortion every 30 seconds—some good news has emerged. Between 2011 and 2017, the number of abortions declined by 19% in the United States.

“One important factor is the number of local volunteers serving in pregnancy care centers,” Rohrer added. “Despite little change at the federal level during this time, individuals across our nation have helped mothers facing difficult pregnancy situations. It reminds me of the woman who anointed Jesus with oil. Though others mocked her, Jesus responded, ‘She did what she could.’ When you and I ‘do what we can’ to save lives, our seemingly small actions result in tremendous impact. How we live today matters, and God’s Word indicates our action is vital.”

Rohrer concluded by pointing to Jeremiah 1, where God called the prophet with the words, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

“God has a plan for our lives,” Rohrer said. “However, the scourge of abortion continues to destroy countless lives each year before they can impact our world. Who knows how many scientists, artists, ministers and other world leaders have disappeared through legalized murder? We dare not passively watch as our nation continues to destroy those created in His image. Indecision is a decision to allow abortion to continue. Yet we can serve together to make a difference. God’s people must lead the way in saving lives. Don’t wait. Lives are counting on it.”

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3 Blessings from God in 2019

While God’s blessings are immeasurable all throughout the year, the American Pastors Network (APN) is looking back on three particular areas where the Lord has guided the ministry and allowed it to make nationwide impact.

President Sam Rohrer said APN has watched God move in profound ways in 2019.

“The way the Lord has guided the American Pastors Network has been an incredible yearlong journey, and we sincerely hope this will be an encouragement to all to trust Him more deeply in 2020,” he said. “What began less than a decade ago as a ministry of support and encouragement to pastors in my home state of Pennsylvania has become something far beyond any personal expectation.”

First, God blessed the ministry through far-reaching radio impact.

“By God’s grace,” Rohrer said, “our ‘Stand in the Gap’ radio programs are aired on over 700 different stations nationwide, reaching millions of listeners with programming that cuts through the shrill noise of our culture with commentary that reassures listeners so they can ‘look up’ in times like these.”

APN’s daily radio program, Stand in the Gap Today,” airs live from noon to 1 p.m. ET, when Rohrer and his co-hosts invite cultural experts to the show and discuss a variety of pressing topics and headlines from a biblical and constitutional perspective. Archived programs can be viewed herefind a station here. Rohrer also hosts the daily short radio feature, “Stand in the Gap Minute” and “best of” shows from the week are broadcast on “Stand in the Gap Weekend.”

Second, God gave APN an unprecedented platform that has provided hundreds of thousands of television viewers with 30 minutes of weekly, challenging programming with “Stand in the Gap TV.”

“In early 2020, APN will make a major announcement that many of our ‘best of’ programs will be given nationwide placement to some 1 million television subscribers,” Rohrer shared.

Stand in the Gap TV,” reaching millions of potential viewers on several networks, considers transcending cultural issues, seemingly difficult to navigate, from a biblical worldview perspective while bringing clarity to cultural confusion and making sense of the nonsense around us. Each week, “Stand in the Gap TV” focuses on root problems and applies biblical principles so God’s people can know the truth.

Third, with APN’s firm belief in God’s power to heal and restore our nation, the ministry has launched a nationwide plan to enlist 10,000 prayer warriors to commit to praying every Tuesday until Election Day 2020 for the moral and spiritual renewal of America.

“APN invites all to add their names to the roster and begin receiving specific prayer requests and updates on this ‘52 Tuesdays’ initiative,” Rohrer said. “Prayer is the answer, and we’re expecting God to move mountains through Christians’ prayer commitment with the American Pastors Network through November 2020.”

“52 Tuesdays” is a dedicated season of prayer for the important 2020 presidential election. APN is encouraging prayer warriors nationwide to add their name to the growing “52 Tuesdays” list.

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Why Do Young People Participate in Church and What’s Missing? Their Answers May Surprise You

Politicians, professors and pastors have all spent considerable time trying to figure out the hearts and minds of millennials—how they will vote, how they relate to the culture and how they worship.

Now, a new Barna study sheds some light on why young adults participate in a community of worship and what they feel is missing from church.

The American Pastors Network (APN) is particularly intrigued by the survey because of the ministry’s interest in the future of the Christian church in America.

APN President Sam Rohrer said the need for pastors to understand millennials is crucial.

“Most pastors realize our nation is in trouble,” Rohrer said. “Without a doubt, it’s divided. The enemy is within the gate, trying to collapse our current administration and destroy our constitution, but when we learn that 4% of millennials hold a biblical worldview so necessary to supporting a constitutional republic here in the United States, the concern, in many regards, is even greater. This issue of millennials and millennial values is paramount in the country, so studies like these help us focus on exactly where the opportunities as well as the problems lie.”

The Barna survey of over 15,000 18- to 35-year-olds across 25 countries found that about 6 in 10 Christians in the study say they participate in their community of worship to grow in their faith (63%) and learn about God (61%). Other motivations also relate to relevant teachings (40%), wisdom for how to live faithfully (39%) or wisdom for applying scriptures (35%). This desire for spiritual instruction persists even though 4 in 10 Christians in this age group (39%) say they have already learned most of what they need to know about faith, and nearly half (47%) say church teachings have flaws or gaps. Others attend for the worship and music (37%), sacraments (14%), or readings and recitations (15%), while still others cite obligation as a reason to attend.

But a relatively surprising factor may be that young people say the top thing missing from their church experience is having their friends in attendance.

While the majority of responses isn’t as large as the reasons for church attendance, nearly one-fifth (18%) said their friends are absent from their church experience. “This may be partly due to the fact that religious affiliation and engagement has generally declined among younger adults, particularly in secular contexts—but regardless of the religious climate in which these Christians live, friends are still identified as the main thing missing,” Barna reported. Relatedly, social gatherings outside of services (14%), relationship workshops (14%) or support groups (13%) are also among the top things lacking from young Christians’ church experiences.

Rohrer works closely with “Stand in the Gap TV” co-host and millennial pastor Isaac Crockett, and the two will be discussing APN’s new yearlong “52 Tuesdays” prayer initiative—a dedicated season of prayer for the important 2020 presidential election now less than a year away. The weekly television program reaches millions of potential viewers on several networks.

Especially as young Americans will be concerned with the election, APN is encouraging prayer warriors nationwide to add their name to the growing “52 Tuesdays” list and join APN’s Stand in the Gap Today” radio co-hosts from noon to 1 p.m. EST on local stations each Tuesday or by tuning in live online. During the final segment of each Tuesday program, listeners can pray with the hosts, as well as during their own prayer time.

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Does Prayer Really Change Things? Sam Rohrer Says God Shows Us That Prayer Works

Nearly every person—religious or not—has heard the phrase, “Prayer changes things.” But do they really believe it?

They should, says American Pastors Network (APN) President Sam Rohrer, because God has made it clear that He answers prayer.

“Proper prayer can turn the head of God,” Rohrer said. “Proper prayer by God’s people can turn back the judgment of God. Christ even said that powerful prayer with faith can move mountains. So we should pray personally and fervently, and nothing can ever remove that ability except our own choices.

“Yet,” Rohrer added, “when it comes to public prayer, such as prayers that open each session of Congress, Senate, state assemblies and many local government meetings to the kind of prayer that used to start most public school days to days of prayer initiated in the past by presidents, public prayer has been increasingly ridiculed in our nation. But when public prayer does happen, it is far more for traditional, symbolic or historic reasons than because the true power and benefit of prayer is understood. But that knowledge of prayer needs to change in this nation.”

Rohrer is hoping that national knowledge of prayer will change, in part, through APN’s new, yearlong “52 Tuesdays” prayer initiative—a dedicated season of prayer for the important 2020 presidential election now less than a year away.

“We know that personal prayer and public prayer by leaders of government is highly valued by God,” Rohrer said. “There are famous prayers in the Bible led by King David, Solomon, kings’ servants in secular governments such as Ezra and Nehemiah, and by vice rulers in pagan governments, such as the prayer of repentance led by Daniel in the Babylonian era. Here in our nation, many organic documents of law address prayer as well, including the Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. or other state constitutions.”

APN is encouraging prayer warriors nationwide to add their name to the growing “52 Tuesdays” list and join APN’s “Stand in the Gap Today” radio co-hosts from noon to 1 p.m. EST on local stations each Tuesday or by tuning in live online. During the final segment of each Tuesday program, listeners can pray with the hosts, as well as during their own prayer time.

“As Christians, we should place great value on prayer—personal and national—because God does,” Rohrer said. “Let’s pray together, believing God will hear and answer!”

Rohrer also pointed to a history of public prayer called for by U.S. presidents over the years, which should serve as a reminder of the importance of national prayer for all Americans today:

  • President George Washington, after the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania, declared a National Day of Prayer on Jan. 1, 1796, when he declared: “All persons within the United States, to … render sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations … for the possession of constitutions of government … and fervently beseech the kind Author of these blessings … to establish habits of sobriety, order, and morality and piety.”
  • During a threatened war with France, President John Adams declared a National Day of Prayer and Fasting on March 23, 1798, and again on March 6, 1799.
  • President James Madison, who had introduced the First Amendment in the first session of Congress, proclaimed two National Days of Prayer and a National Day of Fasting during the War of 1812.
  • President John Tyler proclaimed a National Day of Prayer and Fasting on April 13, 1841, after President William Henry Harrison died in office.
  • President Zachary Taylor declared a National Day of Fasting and Prayer, July 3, 1849, during a cholera epidemic.
  • President James Buchanan declared a National Day of Prayer and Fasting to avert civil strife on Dec. 14, 1860.
  • After President Abraham Lincoln was shot, President Andrew Johnson proclaimed a National Day of Prayer on April 29, 1865.
  • In 1918, when the U.S. entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a National Day of Prayer and Fasting.
  • Then, in 1952, President Harry S. Truman made the National Day of Prayer an annual event, stating: “In times of national crisis when we are striving to strengthen the foundations of peace … we stand in special need of Divine support.”

“Public prayer from an historical basis in this nation has been consistent, long and recognized for various reasons as something that rises to the level of full public prominence and engagement,” Rohrer said. “But due to the 1962 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Engel v. Vitale decision, the wishes of a few people to reject prayer to God in public schools became law, and public prayer in public schools became illegal and unconstitutional, even though from the beginning of this nation, public prayer was lawful, constitutional, proper and necessary. And the negative results of the move away from national and public prayer have been numerous.”

With the crucial 2020 presidential election now less than a year away, APN, through the “52 Tuesdays” initiative, is calling on all pastors to encourage their congregations to pray weekly with the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of national prayer in mind.

Rohrer added that this special year of prayer will focus on the biblical basics of prayer, such as why we pray, what prayer is and what we are called to pray for as citizens. These basics will be explored on the “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program and Tuesdays will be dedicated topics for prayer, including prayer for the president, the nation and for repentance as well as closing in prayer in each “Stand in the Gap Today” daily program.

“Public prayer was encouraged by God Himself by those in positions of authority, since under God’s design they all directly report to God,” Rohrer added. “Kings have led in prayer. Presidents have called for Days of Prayer. And in the months leading up to 2020, we at the American Pastors Network and the ‘Stand in the Gap today’ radio program want to even more purposely lead in the regular emphasis in prayer for our nation, for our needs, for the Church in America and for persecuted Christians around the globe, and to use our public platform to demonstrate what we are encouraging pastors, people in the pews, radio listeners and elected leaders to do—pray without ceasing.”

On future Tuesdays, regular fourth segments of the daily, one-hour program will be dedicated to these prayer discussions, and guests to the show will be part of the prayers as well. Additionally, the “Stand in the Gap Today” co-hosts will be inviting listeners to pray with them, and live engagement will also occur through a variety of platforms.

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America Will Never Be Great Again Until We Acknowledge That God Is Great

Political division. Impeachment hearings. Waning church attendance. Young people walking away from the faith. A PC agenda pushed on the culture.

The list of deep concerns for America goes on and on. With a crucial 2020 presidential election now less than a year away, the American Pastors Network (APN) has embarked on an inspirational, exciting and very necessary prayer initiative called “52 Tuesdays.” The yearlong prayer focus calls on Christians to pray for America as never before.

APN President Sam Rohrer said that after launching “52 Tuesdays” on the “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program, which airs on 425 stations nationwide, feedback from listeners was extremely positive and hopeful.

“This is a crucial season for prayer in America,” Rohrer said. “And prayer does not only have to be driven by pastors in the church, although pastoral leadership is of utmost importance. Prayer can and should also be driven by our national leaders. But prayer should also be initiated by citizens and moms and dads in the home.”

Rohrer added that for nearly every election in America’s history, Christians have been heavily involved, whether by fundraising, mobilization, recruiting candidates or education efforts.

“Many of those who are driving the evangelical involvement in our nation’s most significant elections and those who are out plying the boat are doing nothing different than what has been done for the past generation, which really hasn’t led to any real change in the American election process nor certainly the culture within our nation,” Rohrer said. “What has to be different for 2020?”

One notable difference was the historic 2016 election, Rohrer added, but that outcome was not human-driven.

“No one can take credit for the window that God provided in most recent history,” Rohrer said.

“Elections are a time, forced by the calendar, to call on Christians to check their hearts to ensure they are grounded in God rather than in a man or woman who seeks to run the country,” he added. “America will never be great again until we return to a time when we acknowledge in our minds and hearts that the God of the Bible is great.”

A listener from Madison, Wisconsin, said she was encouraged and challenged by the “52 Tuesdays” prayer initiative when she heard a Nov. 12 interview with Rohrer on “Crosstalk” with host Jim Schneider, which airs in several states on the VCY America network.

“I said ‘Amen’ during that program more than I probably have any program, and that may be due to the growing desperation that many of us feel as we see what is going on around us,” she said. “I pray for President Trump regularly … but I continue to recognize what the true need is, and this is what your (program) hit right on the head. I have long been attempting to confront my own life and to challenge my six children, as well as appeal to my husband, who has been responding. I am burdened to share with whomever the Lord brings me to, especially with other women, regarding getting our lives right before God. Thank you for this program and this particular message. This is the bottom line. This is what has to be there underneath whatever else we are engaged in with in our friends, family, co-workers, church and culture.”

For “52 Tuesdays,” APN’s calls on all pastors to weekly encourage their congregations to pray with “who, what, when, where, why and how” in mind, as each American carefully considers our nation, its leaders, and the meaning, the gravity and the outcome of praying for America.

Rohrer added that this special year of prayer will focus on the biblical basics of prayer, such as why we pray, what prayer is and what we are called to pray for as citizens. These basics will be explored on the “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program and Tuesdays will be dedicated topics for prayer, including prayer for the president, the nation and for repentance as well as closing in prayer in each Stand in the Gap Today daily program.

To kick off “52 Tuesdays” on Nov. 12, Rohrer and co-hosts Gary Dull and Dave Kistler welcomed journalist, best-selling author and Christian publisher Stephen E. Strang to the “Stand in the Gap Today” program, which airs on hundreds of stations nationwide. Strang is the author of the forthcoming book, “God, Trump, and the 2020 Election: Why He Must Win and What’s at Stake for Christians if He Loses.” Listen to the program here.

On future Tuesdays, regular fourth segments of the daily, one-hour program will be dedicated to these prayer discussions, and guests to the show will be part of the prayers as well. Additionally, the “Stand in the Gap Today” co-hosts will be inviting listeners to pray with them, and live engagement will also occur through a variety of platforms.

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Christianity, Culture, and Credibility

This transcript is taken from the Stand in the Gap Today program aired on Oct. 31, 2019

Sam Rohrer:                     Well, when I say the words skeptic or cynic, or doubter and disputer, and then I connect in even the word persecution, what comes to your mind? Well, for most of you listening to me right now on this program, that word is truth, Bible, Christian, post-modern culture. All of those things, plus, more might come to your mind and they’d be appropriate. And you’d be right because in today’s modern culture with absolute truth being rejected, actually by government and others, truth being redefined and Christians and Christian beliefs being increasingly targeted as archaic. And by some, even identified as divisive. In this rejecting culture, identifying things of this flavor also may use the word as uncomfortably restraining about Christianity and truth or divisive, or even worse. And in this climate, Christianity and Christians themselves are under attack. Worldwide. Over 300 million across this world are estimated right now, being actively persecuted for their faith in God.

Sam Rohrer:                     Well, in today’s program, we’re going to present some very powerful information that will, I believe, inform, inspire and equip you to be more confident in the truth, more convincing in your expression of Christianity. And then also to alert you at the end of the program to the level of persecution around the world so that you can better pray for that persecuted church. Our theme today is this, Christianity, culture and credibility. And with that, I welcome you to stand in the gap today, I’m Sam Rohrer and I’ll be joined today by Dr. Gary Dull and Isaac Crockett. And in segments one and two, special guest, John Dickerson. He’s a respected journalist, he’s an author, he’s a millennial and is a senior pastor. And he’s also the author of a new book entitled, Jesus Skeptic.

Sam Rohrer:                     And then in segments three and four, we’re going to invite back to this program, Todd Nettleton. He’s the chief of media relations and message integration and also the host of The Voice of the Martyrs national radio program. And we’re going to get the latest from him on Christian persecution worldwide. As we look forward to this coming Sunday, which is set aside and designated as the international day of prayer for the persecuted church. So with that introduction, so we have a roadmap of knowing where we’re going to go, I’d like to walk in right now, John Dickerson. Award winning journalist, he’s the author and lead pastor at Connection Pointe Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. And with that, I’d like to welcome you to the program right now. John, thank you for being with us today.

John Dickerson :              Hey, thank you so much for having me.

Sam Rohrer:                     We’ve got a lot to go over with you and I know your time is tight and our program goes extraordinarily quick. So I want to get right into it. John, you’ve been blessed to have won national journalism awards from such people as Tom Brokaw and Christiane Amanpour of CNN, among others. Tell us just a bit, if you could right now, about your journalism career and how that has perhaps moved you into this area of what I’m going to term, investigating Jesus.

John Dickerson :              Yeah, that’s right. God did bless my career as a journalist and, simultaneously, because I was doing investigative reporting, I started attending a seminary, working on a Master’s degree almost as a hobby. And as I was investigating essentially stories, trying to help society and make the world a better place, and learning about Jesus almost as a hobby and something I enjoyed, I ultimately reached a point where I became convinced that Jesus not only existed, but is God and is the best hope for society. And ultimately walked away from my career right after winning some of those really big national awards because I became convinced that Jesus and His teachings, His way of life, are the greatest hope for the nations.

Isaac Crockett:                 John, your books, this is your fourth book, Jesus Skeptic, have really opened, I think, a lot of eyes for people. I know I’ve sent copies to different friends of them and especially this one, Jesus Skeptic. It is really well written and you can tell that it not only comes from the heart, but from lots of research. But it’s just interesting, you’re talking about being in school when you started researching things. And this has been a long time coming, I guess you could say. But really, you’re not that old of a pastor. I mean, compared to, I’m not going to throw anybody under the bus here, but Sam and Gary, you and I are the younger generation here on the radio today. And we’re, I guess older millennials, but we’re millennials and in your church as well as in your writing, there’s a lot of things that are kind of geared to people our age and younger that they can really take a hold of.

Isaac Crockett:                 You’ve really seen a need, in our day and age, for apologetics and for just defending truth. And yet, only about two to 3% of our age group, the millennials and Gen Z, really have what could be considered a biblical worldview of God. It’s so far away from being a concept of absolute truth. Why would you, a younger pastor, a younger journalist, end up writing a book about Jesus and skeptics investigating Jesus of all things.

John Dickerson :              Yeah, it’s such a great question. And I want to encourage anyone listening with this reality that I was raised in a Christian home, but for a while I was that statistic. Right now, two out of three young people raised in Christian homes are turning away from Christianity. And I would guess most people listening, they either have a child or a grandchild, a niece or a nephew, some loved one who was raised in Christianity, but turned away from it. And that was me for a season. And I remember in that season thinking, “Maybe this Jesus was made up. This whole thing is probably a myth. My parents have been duped.” And now obviously God has brought me full circle after I’ve actually looked at the evidence and now I’ve experienced the power of Jesus in my life. And so Jesus Skeptic, this book, I really wrote it with the hope and the prayer that many parents and grandparents will get this to their kids, their grandkids. Because many are doubting, even though they don’t verbalize it.

John Dickerson :              I never walked up to my parents when I was first starting to doubt and said, “Hey, I’ve been thinking maybe Jesus didn’t exist.” But I’m thankful that there were some books along the way. Books like Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell and others, that God used to show me Jesus is a historic figure. We do have writings of his are of the new Testament of his followers that are reliable. And ultimately, my prayer with this Jesus Skeptic book is to meet a young person who either has turned away or is thinking of turning away. And what’s really unique about Jesus Skeptic is there so many images and pictures of these ancient documents, ancient artifacts. So that in a generation where it’s always one person’s opinion versus another, our young people can see the truth for themselves.

Sam Rohrer:                     And John, we’re going to get more into detail on that. We actually don’t have enough time to go into another question at this point. So ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to move away to the break here in just a moment.

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Sam Rohrer:                     Our theme today is Christianity, culture and credibility. Our special guest, John Dickerson. And we’re actually going to be talking to him more in depth now regarding a new book that he has written entitled Jesus Skeptic. Well, the doubters of truth and skeptics of God as the source of truth and Jesus Christ as the embodiment of truth and the Bible as the written and inspired word of truth, those doubters have existed from creation. We know that. Yet the facts, the history, the proof of the truth, and the authenticity and reality of Jesus as the way and the truth are genuine. And the impacts of the truths of Christianity on the world, on science and education, music and the arts, politics and medicine or literally all of culture is indisputable for those who want to seek the truth. And such is the experience for countless numbers of past skeptics and doubters of Jesus Christ. Well, in this segment, we’ll continue our discussion with John Dickerson about his new book, Jesus Skeptic.

Sam Rohrer:                     So John, let me come back to you right now. It’s a great title, it’s catchy. We already talked just a little bit about your journey from journalism. Having grown up in a Christian home, but you did not accept it. You pursued and went down the road and your investigation led you to the reality of Jesus Christ. So let me have you state again or go where you want to on this, but I’d like to know, to whom did you really write this book? Who is the intended audience and what is your primary hope for the person who reads this book?

John Dickerson :              Yeah, great questions. The intended audience would be the modern day Saul. Saul has become one of my favorite stories. In the book of Acts, chapters six through nine, where Paul the apostle starts off as Saul the skeptic. And God breaks through to him through that moment where Jesus invades as a shining light and says, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” But even before that, Saul was hearing the word of God preached from young Steven. He was seeing the change in Christians lives. And the reality is we live in a culture full of Saul’s who think that Christianity is backwards and prejudiced and bigoted. They don’t understand what it’s actually about. And some of those people grew up in Christian homes, some didn’t. But this Jesus Skeptic book is for all of them. And I encourage anyone listening, whether it’s someone in your family or someone in your workplace or neighborhood who’s just opposed to Christianity, that’s who this book is for.

John Dickerson :              Knowing that only God can open their eyes, but that God often uses seeds that we plant of the truth. The truth of God’s word, I’ve woven Jesus’ words all throughout this book, Jesus Skeptic. And my other prayer for this book is for our own young people. We know from Pew Research Center and other national sociology groups that America is becoming less and less Christian. In fact, more and more hostile toward Christianity. And a lot of our young people, often they feel torn between, “Do I be part of this culture that says Christianity is bad? Or do I stick with what I was raised to believe?”

John Dickerson :              Jesus Skeptic allows them to see that the choice of following Jesus is actually the choice to make the world a better place. And we show that the people who created universities as we know them, healthcare as we know it, the end of slavery and so many other things were followers of Jesus. And as a journalist, I show all of this with actual images and records so that young people can see for themselves. So that’s my prayer, that God will use this book to reach many modern day Saul’s, and that he’ll use it for many young people, especially middle, high school and college age students to really affirm their faith. And let them know, as a follower of Jesus, I’m part of the greatest movement for social good in human history.

Gary Dull:                         John, it’s a delight to have you with us and certainly I appreciate the concept of apologetics and what you’re doing there. I think perhaps many of our people will recognize you as being on CBS 60 Minutes, being a co-host on CBS This Morning, and even being, I think you were a part of the CBS election team when they’ve done their specials on elections.

Gary Dull:                         So it’s a delight to have you with us today and to hear how God has been working in your life and in your ministry. Thank you for all that you’ve done. But you know when one looks at your book, Jesus Skeptic, as well as goes to your website, they will see that you have used many images, and you’ve provided hundreds of images, actually, that anyone can share online. If you would please just share a bit of your vision for a national movement of Christians sharing these evidences that followers of Jesus Christ truly could make the world a better place in which to live.

John Dickerson :              Absolutely. And one quick differentiation, one of the reasons on my books I put John S. Dickerson is that the John Dickerson of CBS is a good friend of mine, actually, and also a believer, but not writing the kind of books that I am at this time. But I was a print journalist and did win national awards but wrote rather than being on TV. But John, the other John Dickerson is a good friend.

John Dickerson :              And here’s the prayer for this book and for this movement, is that our young people would be able to see these ancient artifacts, as well as writings. Like for example, when we talked about Christians ending slavery, we actually show the biblically based arguments that the abolitionists used. And we show those actual newspapers and writings from the 1800s all the way back to the Quakers and the 1600s. And the reason for that is that when our young people go off to college or when they enter a conversation perhaps in the workplace in their 20s, where they really encounter a skeptic. And the current of anti Christianity is so strong that they will be opposed and there will be educated people who say, “Well you don’t even know, everything you were taught was a lie. You were essentially raised in a cult.”

John Dickerson :              I remember being told that. And it shakes the young person and they think, “Well, what if everything wasn’t true?” And that’s why it’s so important, I believe, in my journey, to show them the primary evidence. So that when we tell them things like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were all started by Christians as Bible seminaries, they can actually see those founding charters for themselves in the Jesus Skeptic book. When we tell them that the leaders of the scientific revolution, like Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal and Johannes Kepler we’re all followers of Jesus, they can read their actual journal writings for themselves. When we say that the people who led the charge to end slavery were motivated by the teachings of Jesus, they can read those words for themselves. And that’s just so important because our message is so counter-cultural now, and especially in the next ten, 20, 30 years, what we believe is not only unpopular, but it’s becoming defined as bigoted and backward and prejudice.

John Dickerson :              And for our young people to know that Jesus and his followers actually make the world a better place, they need to be able to see these documents, or I believe it’s a great tool. Same with Jesus’ existence. We know well those ancient writers like Josephus and Suetonius and Tacitus who wrote about Jesus. And in the Jesus Skeptic book, I actually show images of their writings and ancient artifacts that show it’s very clear Jesus existed. And so that’s the prayer, that our young people would be solidified in their faith and they’d go forward to follow Jesus boldly.

Isaac Crockett:                 John, I love those examples. And in the book, when you tie in the imagery of a Keystone species and you talk about a sea otter, if you haven’t read that part of the book, all of you listening, I would really encourage you to get the book to read these things. But one of the things that I think was so shocking, and you’ve already mentioned it, is that you point out that science, that the movers and shakers and what we know as modern science, that they were led to that because of Christianity.

Isaac Crockett:                 And you said, “The greatest movement for social good, that’s what Christianity is.” And it’s not portrayed that way. And that’s what I love about your book, that it really gives that encouraging part. And I’d love to get me some more on that, but real quickly, how can our listeners get your book? I know for me, it’s been easy to share just from Amazon. You can have it ordered and sent to people’s houses or get the Kindle, electronic version of it. I was just sending out some electronic versions of it today to some friends. But what’s an easy way for our listeners to get ahold of that, of your book, and be able to share it with others even?

John Dickerson :              Yeah. It is definitely available at Amazon, at Christianbook.com, any Christian bookstore should be able to order it as well as any Barnes and Noble. Really, any bookstore can get their hands on it. I’d encourage those listening, the audio book has a great narrator. So if you want to get the audio book online or as a CD through Christianaudio.com. The book is a great tool as even when we think about Christmas coming up. If you’ve got any middle school, high school, college age, millennial age loved ones in your life, get them this. It’s a stocking stuffer if nothing else. I know my parents gave me some books like Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands A Verdict and those were the turning point for me intellectually. Only God could open my eyes, but it was that truth that I saw in those books that opened my mind. And that’s the prayer for Jesus Skeptic.

Sam Rohrer:                     And John, that’s excellent. And you know the reason this book fits so well with what we talk about on this program is that we emphasize the authority of scripture and the power of truth, and God’s truth alone, to transform lives. We don’t have much time left, but you were talking about some of the examples, some of the artifacts and some of the things you included in your book. Could you just pick out one, in the last minute here, one that you think was perhaps most compelling or shares the greatest compelling story, perhaps, if somebody would read your book, they really want to take a look at that one that you might identify?

John Dickerson :              Amen. The power of scripture. When we look at the charter document of the American anti-slavery society. This is a society of mostly pastors who came together about 40 years before the Civil War and said, “We will give our fortunes, we will give our freedom, we will give our very lives, everything we have, to end slavery.” And in that charter, there are no less than six scripture quotations right on the front page of that charter. And to me, it’s just one of the dozens of pieces of evidence in this Jesus Skeptic book that show it’s not a matter of opinion that the word of God leads to a free society and a prosperous society. It’s a matter of history and fact.

Sam Rohrer:                     Boy, that’s what we need, ladies and gentlemen, today, a reset in the American culture, a reset to truth. This book, Jesus Skeptic, go look it up. Get it for a gift, for a child, a grand child, a friend or for yourself.

 

Sam Rohrer:                     John Dickerson, thank you for being with us today on the program. What a blessing and we just pray that God takes and uses this to change a lot of hearts. Thanks so much for being with us. All right, ladies and gentlemen, we got a break coming up in just a moment and we are going to welcome in Todd Nettleton of Voice Of The Martyrs.

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Sam Rohrer:                     Well, welcome back to the program. I’m Sam Rohrer. Accompanied today by Gary Dull and Isaac Crockett. Our theme today, Christianity, culture and credibility. We started by talking to pastor and author of a new book entitled Jesus Skeptic. His name is John Dickerson, about the powerful impact of Christianity on the culture and on every area of life. Since the beginning, after creation, and when doubt first came into the world at the fall, Christianity and the truth of God and God’s word has undergone opposition. Yet, in the midst of all of that, the powerful impacts of the biblical principles, when applied, have changed this world for the good. So we’re talking about, in that first segment, about the power of this book, what’s in the book that John has written. How when we look at history and we look at what we find, it has truly changed lives. That’s the power of Christianity.

Sam Rohrer:                     But while Christianity and biblical truth alone brings peace, we know that as believers, and it brings prosperity and life and liberty to any nation, it’s only those principles of God’s word that does that. The opponents of truth and the rejectors of Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life, and they continue to oppose the truth. Not just to disagree with it, but increasingly, actively oppose it. And as I think back in history, as did the Pharisees and the religious establishment of Jesus Day and the Roman leaders of the political establishment of his day, as they did, so do the globalist and the religious and political establishment of our day. Regardless of what nation you go to, it seems.

Sam Rohrer:                     Are unable to coexist with Christians and Jews, the opponents of truth always tend to move to aggressive persecution of Christians. That’s the history of the world and that’s what Christ says. Today, we’re told that over 300 million people are being actively persecuted for their faith around the world. So the next two segments we’re going to talk with Todd Nettleton. He’s the host of The Voice Of The Martyrs national radio program, about where persecution is happening. And how even in the midst of that, in some places, truly the gospel is growing. With that, I want to welcome back to the program. Todd Nettleton. Todd, thank you for being with us today.

Todd Nettleton :              Well, thank you for having me. It’s always good to be with you.

Sam Rohrer:                     Well, we’re glad for the work that Voice Of The Martyrs is doing, has done, and with God’s grace, will continue to do.

Sam Rohrer:                     Todd, I want to talk to you about two nations here as we get going on here, and Isaac and Gary then pose questions to you. But there are two nations that are really standing out perhaps more in the news, in these days, regarding their involvement in persecution. I’d like to get an update from you on them now. One, we’re certainly hearing about China. And with their extensively implemented and integrated almost 24/7 monitoring of their citizens, it’s very disturbing what we are hearing. Can you give us an update from what you know about the Voice Of The Martyrs contacts about China and in China? What’s happening there? What can you tell us?

Todd Nettleton :              Well, it is very disturbing. And you mentioned the monitoring of people. Our contacts have told us in China that the Chinese government, their goal by the end of next year is to have 600 million surveillance cameras active in the country. And now if you think about 1.2 billion Chinese people, 600 million is basically one camera for every two people in China. Their goal is to be able to identify and locate anyone on Chinese soil in three seconds. So surveillance cameras, facial recognition software. Think about if you’re a house church and underground church pastor in China, think about if you’re trying to secretly deliver Bibles to Christians in China. You know the government is watching.

Todd Nettleton :              Here’s the other side of that coin, though. I had the chance to sit down with a house church pastor in China. We recorded an interview that we aired on Voice Of The Martyrs radio and on our podcast. And I said, “Hey, pastor, you know the government is always watching. How does that make you feel? How does that affect your ministry?” And he said, “We do know the government is watching,” and he said, “What I have told the men in my church is, hey, the government is watching you. Make sure there is not a gap between your testimony on Sunday and the way you live your life the other six days of the week. We want the government to know the gospel is true. And they’re watching us, so we have an opportunity to live out the gospel. We have an opportunity to be an example of how Jesus changes peoples lives and changes peoples hearts. Since they’re watching anyway, let’s use this as an opportunity to witness.”

Todd Nettleton :              So, yes, the persecution is harsh. Yes, the surveillance is harsh, but the believers there are saying, “Hey, if the government’s watching anyway, let’s use it as an opportunity.”

Isaac Crockett:                 That’s incredible. It reminds me of the apostle, Paul, when he was praising the Lord for being bound to these Roman soldiers that he could witness to them 24/7. Now I guess it’s big brother over there doing that. The guest that was on our program just a few minutes ago, John Dickerson, and his book for skeptics, he talks about the fact that the countries that have the most freedom for women and the best human rights, that they are Christian countries founded on Christian principles. And the top 10 worst human rights, he shows they all persecute Christians, which is no surprise to you at Voice Of The Martyrs.

Isaac Crockett:                 But you talked about China. Can you talk about Iran? That’s another one of those big ones where Christianity, there’s really seems to be a growth of people, like a revival waiting to happen there. But as far as the government goes, they’re trying to crack down and they’re really persecuting Christians. Could you maybe expound upon that for us?

Todd Nettleton :              Absolutely.

Todd Nettleton :              They are certainly persecuting the church, but they can’t stop it. This is one of the amazing things and, frankly, the government of Iran is nervous about that. They are scared because whatever they do, they can’t stop the growth of the church. One of the most sort of counterintuitive things that I think I’ve ever heard is having Iranian Christians tell me that the greatest Christian missionary in the history of Iran was Ayatollah Khomeini. And we hear that and we say, “Well, wait a minute. He’s the one who led the Islamic revolution. How could he be the greatest Christian missionary?” And they will go on to say, “Well, over the last 40 years since that revolution, our government has told us everything we’re doing is according to Islamic principles. Everything we’re doing is according to the Koran. We are going to run our country exactly how Mohammed would run it if he was still alive.”

Todd Nettleton :              40 years later, the country is broken, the economy is in shambles. There is so much corruption in the government. The drug addiction rate of the people is one of the highest in the world. And the people say, “Well, wait a minute, if this is what 40 years of doing it the Islamic way leads to, then Islam doesn’t work. Look, we’ve got the proof. We can look at our own country and we can see Islam doesn’t work.” So I’ve heard estimates as high as 70% of Iranians have rejected Islam. They would tell you, if they could have a an honest conversation, “Islam doesn’t work, I don’t believe it.”

Todd Nettleton :              So the gospel is then going in and finding fertile soil and finding open hearts because they’ve already rejected Islam. They already have a mindset that there is a God, there is one God. And so if you can present Jesus as the son of God, and many times, they have a supernatural encounter with Jesus and they say, “Wow, Jesus is God.” And that fertile soil, that seed just grows and produces fruit. There is so much hunger for the gospel. But as you say, there is persecution. The government’s cracking down. They are particularly focusing on leaders, leaders within house groups, leaders within churches. And they’re facing arrest, they’re facing intense pressure.

Todd Nettleton :              And one of the challenges, and this is a point for prayer for the people who are listening, once a person has been arrested, it is very hard for them to get back involved with the church because the other people in the church know, “Hey, this guy got arrested. The government is watching him. If I invite him over to my house for fellowship, if I invite him over to my house, the government’s going to start watching me too.” And so once someone is arrested, there is a real sense of isolation that they experience. And that’s the part of the persecution that we don’t think about. We think about, hey, if you’re out of jail, then your persecution is over. But that’s another part of it and that’s something we can pray about for our Iranian brothers and sisters.

Gary Dull:                         Indeed, that’s a good prayer. And I appreciate you bringing that up, Todd.

Gary Dull:                         In a recent podcast of your Voice Of Martyrs radio program, you interviewed Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held in the Turkish prison for many years. And we’re very thankful to Donald Trump and his administration for working to get him released. But according to your interview, Pastor Brunson highlighted the fact that his ability to maintain hope and vision was, in part, inspired by Voice Of The Martyrs. I think that’s great. Can you share this with our listeners please?

Todd Nettleton :              Yeah. And I would encourage people, and again, I don’t want to sound like I’m promoting VOM or promoting my own radio show, but I would encourage people to listen to this conversation because Pastor Andrew Brunson is very honest about how difficult those two years in prison were, about how much it challenged his faith. And even at one point, he thought he was losing his mind. He was worried that he was going insane because of the pressure and because of the stress. But one of the people that inspired him was the founder of the Voice Of The Martyrs, Richard Wrumbrand. Now, Richard has gone on to eternity, but he has left his books with us. And somebody delivered to Andrew Brunson, in prison, some of Richard Wrumbrand’s books. And Andrew began to read them. And Pastor Wrumbrand’s example was a challenge and an inspiration to Pastor Brunson. And he writes in his book about one of the things that that Wrumbrand did was he wrote in one of his books that, “Hey, the Bible tells us when we’re persecuted, we’re supposed to rejoice.”

Todd Nettleton :              And so the thing that pastor Wrumbrand did in his cell is he would dance, and he would say, “Lord, I don’t feel like rejoicing, but when we’re rejoicing, we dance.” And so he danced in his cell. Andrew Brunson took that example and put that into practice in his own cell, in prison, in Turkey. And he said he did it purely as an act of discipline, purely as an act of the will. “Lord, I don’t feel like celebrating, I don’t feel joyful, but out of discipline and out of submission to your word, which says we’re supposed to rejoice, I’m going to dance as if I were-

Sam Rohrer:                     And amen. We’re going to have to break away for a break here.

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Sam Rohrer:                     Well, as we now move into our final segment of this very important emphasis today, we’re going to, in just a moment, close in prayer. I’m going to ask our special guest, Todd Nettleton. He’s the host of the Voice Of The Martyrs radio program. And Isaac and Gary and myself, if there’s time, to take and do exactly what we’re asking to be done and that is to pray. The scripture says throughout that really there’s a principle there that when the body of Christ rejoices, we should all rejoice. When one suffers, we should all feel that suffering. In all cases, we should be bringing in prayer before the Lord, all of those who are certainly of the household of faith, that’s what we need to do, it’s God’s plan. Well, this coming Sunday, the first Sunday of November is designated as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church of which we’ve just been speaking.

Sam Rohrer:                     So many across this world, right now, are under active persecution. The numbers are estimated to be 300 million or more. And it’s in many, many countries. We need to pray for those individuals, obviously most of them, you and I, as we listen to this program and are participating, we don’t know who they are. But that’s why we need to pray because the Lord knows who they are and He will hear our prayers in those kinds of cases.

Sam Rohrer:                     So Todd, let me just ask you for a just a quick response before I ask you to pray and lead off for us, but as you deal with persecuted Christians, from your perspective, if there would be one most often heard prayer request, of those who are persecuted, if they were to say, “If the Christians of the world would pray for us, this is what we would ask them to pray for,” What would it be?

Todd Nettleton :              The prayer request that they have is an interesting one and a convicting one. It is pray that we’ll be faithful. Not pray that our persecution will end or pray that our government will change or whatever that might be. Pray that we will be faithful in spite of the persecution that we’re forced to face.

Sam Rohrer:                     All right, ladies and gentlemen, did you get that? Those who are persecuted, and in this country we have just the first tinges of it. Most people who are listening right now, we’ve not experienced persecution like many around the world are. But as you just heard Todd say, those who are persecuted, truly persecuted for their faith are not asking that, “Lord, remove the persecution,” but, “Lord, give us the strength to endure that our light may shine and the truth of the gospel community.” That’s really what they’re saying. That’s an amazing thing.

Sam Rohrer:                     Todd, if you could, please, go to the Lord in prayer, pray for those things as you have mentioned and then just a minute or two would be fine. And then Isaac, I would like you to follow and then Gary, if you could then follow Isaac. And then depending on the time of the program, then I will close in prayer. Let us do exactly what we’re encouraging all of you listening to do. Pastors, that you do, and lead your church in prayer this Sunday as we pray for the persecuted church. Todd, would you head, please?

Todd Nettleton :              Father, I lift up the members of our family, your family, who are being persecuted around the world. Lord, we do pray that you will encourage them and help them to be faithful in spite of suffering, in spite of discouragement, in spite of enemies of the gospel coming against them. Lord, I also pray that through your Holy spirit, supernaturally, you would let them know, right even at this moment, that someone is praying for them, that they are not alone. They’re not forgotten, they are part of the wider body of Christ. Just remind them of that fact right now, Lord, and encourage them.

Todd Nettleton :              Lord, I also want to pray specifically for Pastor Raymond Koh, who was kidnapped in Malaysia. For his wife, Susanna, who doesn’t know, two and a half years later, what happened to her husband. Is he alive? Is he dead? Where is he? Lord, would you, right now, sustain that family? And we pray for Pastor Raymond in captivity. We pray for Susanna and for their children. Encourage them, give them strength. And Lord, we pray for change. We pray that the Malaysian government will reveal what happened to him and where he is and return him to his family. Lord, we’re thankful that we’re a part of your body and that we can lift up each other’s hands during hard times. In Jesus name.

Isaac Crockett:                 Amen.

Isaac Crockett:                 Father, we do come to you now asking for you to strengthen all of us, but especially for our brothers and sisters in bonds and in persecution. We pray that they would be faithful. We pray that you would just work and empower them in a special way, as was written in Romans eight by Paul, that there’s nothing that shall separate us from the love of Christ. Not tribulation, not distress, not persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword. For your sake, many of our brothers and sisters are being slaughtered like sheep. But in all these things, we are more than conquerors. And so we pray right now, dear Lord, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, things present nor things to come, that there’ll be no height, no depth, no creature under the sun that would ever separate any of your chosen from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Isaac Crockett:                 We love you. Father, we thank you for your protection and your guidance, your strength, even when those who hate you come after us. We pray now that that strength and that guidance, that patience, that love, that all of the fruits of the spirit that you give us through your spirit, that your spirit would work in your children, your sons and your daughters to your glory, to your praise and for our good. It’s in the name of our powerful, conquering savior Jesus Christ, we pray these things

Gary Dull:                         And Father, I say yes and amen to everything that’s been prayed. And I think particularly to bring another name into it, of an American Christian pastor who is a hostage over in India, Pastor Bryan Nerren. Lord, he’s been over there serving you for about 17 or 18 years in Nepal in India. And he’s been arrested because he’s a Christian. Father, I pray for him and others who are in that same category. I pray, dear Lord, that you’ll give them the boldness to stand firm, that you’ll give them the strength that they need to be a witness, even in the face of what they are dealing with. And Father, through their lives, it is my prayer that you will be glorified. Their prayer is that they will be faithful. And I pray that, indeed, will give them the strength to do that and we’ll give you the praise for what you do in Jesus name.

Sam Rohrer:                     And heavenly Father, as we are so privileged to come into your presence here, four of us on this program leading in different locations across this country, joined by hundreds or thousands across this country who are also listening and joining in prayer. Lord, we are grateful that you’ve made it possible that we can bring our request right before you, right into your throne room. And that you will hear and answer. We lift up those who are imprisoned, those who are being actively persecuted for their faith around the world, give them strength, oh Lord. May their faith not waiver. May their light burn brightly and may the strength and the power of the gospel be communicated through their lives and through their examples to those who would be their oppressors, oh Lord. I pray also for those who are in positions of government leadership. Your purposes for them are to praise those who do well and to punish those who do evil.

Sam Rohrer:                     They will give an account, Oh Lord, for either what they are doing in their persecution or to protect those who are persecuted. So we pray for them because they also will stand before you one day. And I pray, Lord, for those in our country, those of us listening right now who have been the recipients of such blessing and peace for so long, as we witness the tearing away of the foundations that have given us that blessing and peace. And as we see persecution looming on the horizon, may we be more active than ever. Oh Lord, in letting our light shine for you, being that salt and that light as you’ve designed us to be. We pray for these things and we committed to you, in Jesus name, amen.

Sam Rohrer:                     Well, Todd Nettleton, thank you for being with us today. As you represent Voice Of The Martyrs as their radio host and for all that you do as a ministry, we thank God for what you’re doing and we pray the God will hold you-.

American Pastors Network Embarking on ‘52 Tuesdays’ Prayer Initiative for America

To add your name to the Prayer Initiative, please click HERE.

With the 2020 presidential election just over a year away, Americans of all cultural, societal, political and religious identifications know again—as they did in 2016—the incredible significance the election will carry.

For this reason, and with a 365-day countdown—“52 Tuesdays”—until the election fast-approaching, the American Pastors Network (APN) is calling for a national “season of prayer,” which, says APN President Sam Rohrer, is the only solution to the nation’s problems. “52 Tuesdays” will kick off Nov. 12, as Rohrer and his “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program co-hosts will call on Christians to pray for America as never before.

“God’s judgment on and plan for our nation has been happening for a long time,” Rohrer said. “Only prayer will bring the country from the depths to which we’ve sunken. That’s why the American Pastors Network is aiming to be a leader to call for an emphasis on prayer for our nation—not just for one day of the year, but daily weekly and monthly.”

Rohrer noted that Nov. 12 is exactly “52 Tuesdays” away from the 2020 presidential election—a crucial time and another possible turning point in the nation’s history. APN’s hope is that pastors will weekly encourage their congregations to pray whenever they can, with “who, what, when, where, why and how” in mind, as each American carefully considers our nation, its leaders, and the meaning, the gravity and the outcome of praying for America.

Regular fourth segments of the daily, one-hour program will be dedicated to these prayer discussions, and guests to the show will be part of the prayers as well. Additionally, the “Stand in the Gap Today” co-hosts will be inviting listeners to pray with them, and live engagement will also occur through a variety of platforms.

“We know that countless churches are praying corporately every Sunday for our nation—as they should,” Rohrer added. “But people in the pews can make significant prayer impact as well, and the American Pastors Network is suggesting that believers follow up with specific prayer for the nation each Tuesday between Nov. 12 and next year’s presidential election. This initiative, ‘52 Tuesdays,’ will hopefully bring churches, pastors and Christians together to focus on prayer for our nation. It is desperately needed.”

Rohrer added that this special year of prayer will focus on the biblical basics of prayer, such as why we pray, what prayer is and what we are called to pray for as citizens. These basics will be explored on the “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program, especially on Tuesdays, as well as topics for prayer, including prayer for the president, the nation and for repentance.

“These things are at the heart of what God wants us to understand,” he said.

APN also noted that while all eyes are already on the 2020 president election, important local elections are also planned for Tuesday, Nov. 5, around the nation. APN reminds Christians to be informed about the issues in their community, pray and vote. Rohrer noted that iVoter Guide is a useful, biblically based tool to inform voters about the most important issues. Sample ballots, voting information, candidate evaluations and more are available by zip code.

Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

To listen to an interview on this prayer initiative aired on VCY America with Jim Schneider, please click HERE.

To read about it on Charisma News, please click HERE.

American Pastors Network: Churches, Pastors and People in the Pews Must Stand for Life

With October marked as Respect Life Month and Abortion Recovery Awareness Month, the American Pastors Network (APN) is calling on America’s churches, pastors and the people in the pews to acknowledge the great need for pro-life advocates in today’s culture, as well as commit to helping those who have experienced abortion find healing.

“We pray 2020 will be the year that not one tax dollar ever goes toward abortion again,” said APN President Sam Rohrer, “and that the nation’s justices will stand for life, no longer allowing the killing of innocent babies to be stain on the pages of our nation’s history.

“Although life is precious every day of the year,” Rohrer added, “Respect Life Month is a time when pastors and churches can truly focus on protecting life in their communities. We can no longer ignore abortion in our churches. Many may be struggling with the scars of abortion in their own lives, and looking to the church for help, healing and restoration. Additionally, we must equip our people to stand up for the sanctity of life in their own communities, states and across the nation.”

In Pennsylvania, where APN is headquartered, two lawmakers on Monday introduced companion “heartbeat bills,” which would ban abortion after a heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks after conception. Republicans Sen. Doug Mastriano and Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, whom APN has welcomed as a guest on the “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program, said they hope the bill will help counter and overturn Roe v. Wade, according to PennLive.com.

Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.netExecutive Director and APN board member Gary Dull said pastors shouldn’t make assumptions about abortion.

“In the church, we can’t assume that every person sitting in the pews is passionately and strongly pro-life,” Dull said. “They may be confused about their views on abortion, or they may waver with the culture or even with personal experience. That’s why is crucial that pastors and the church stand up for life and not take for granted that all churchgoers realize that God created every life in His image from the moment of conception. He values these unborn children of God and has placed them in our protection.”

While many pastors may be in denial that abortion is not an issue in their churches, Rohrer says church leaders can still bring this important topic in front of their congregations, through sermons, special speakers and support groups, while also remembering that abortion and the pro-life/pro-choice debate will be critical election issue in 2020 as well as in local elections on Nov. 5.