Has Political Correctness Silenced Us?

The Greek poet Euripides was known to say that “Silence is true wisdom’s best reply.”

But when it comes to discussing political views in this sometimes-tempestuous society, many are taking the stance that silence—especially in difficult conversations about politics, religion and other controversial topics—is preferred and safer.

As evidence, the American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, is pointing to a new Cato Institute study that found 71 percent of Americans say political correctness has silenced some of the discussions society must have, and 58 percent have political views they are afraid to share.

APN President Sam Rohrer says these findings are telling in regards to how Americans interact with each other, the cultural climate and the role of the church in these important conversations.

“The most pressing topics in our society are not being discussed because a culture has been created that silences our voices,” Rohrer said. “This can be due to a variety of reasons, including fear, isolation or ridicule. These are the topics, however, Americans should be discussing, and especially Christians as they hopefully bring the truth of God’s Word to our everyday conversations. Furthermore, how does this translate to the Church? We pray pastors are not silencing themselves as well, but we know that many choose not to address from the pulpit the crucial matters in our culture for whatever reason.

“One of the missional goals of the American Pastors Network is to encourage biblically faithful clergy to take seriously Jesus’ command to be the ‘salt and light’ to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues, examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in the political process on a non-partisan basis,” Rohrer added. “We certainly can’t act as salt and light by hiding the light of God’s truth under a bushel, which is exactly what we resort to when we keep silent in an increasingly PC culture.”

The Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, which polled 2,300 U.S. adults, also found that political party somewhat dictated how people felt about silencing their conversations. For example, a slim majority (53 percent) of Democrats do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73 percent) and independents (58 percent) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves.

Cato also reported, “A solid majority (59 percent) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others. On the other hand, 40 percent think government should prevent hate speech.”

Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive:

  • 51 percent of staunch liberals say it’s “morally acceptable” to punch Nazis.
  • 53 percent of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
  • 51 percent of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people’s preferred gender pronouns.
  • 65 percent of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
  • 58 percent of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
  • 47 percent of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
  • 59 percent of liberals say it’s hate speech to say transgender people have a mental disorder; only 17 percent of conservatives agree.
  • 39 percent of conservatives believe it’s hate speech to say the police are racist; only 17 percent of liberals agree.
  • 80 percent of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say illegal immigrants should be deported; only 36 percent of conservatives agree.
  • 87 percent of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say women shouldn’t fight in military combat roles, while 47 percent of conservatives agree.
  • 90 percent of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say homosexuality is a sin, while 47 percent of conservatives agree.

“These findings, especially the chasms between liberals and conservatives when it comes to moral and biblical issues such as a homosexuality, immigration, religion and gender, are especially important for church leaders,” Rohrer added. “While every pastor must first and foremost preach the whole counsel of God and reveal the Bible’s truth without waver, it is helpful to know where the people in the pews stand and the conversations they are having—or not having—regarding these important matters.”

11-7-17: Evil is on the Prowl

QUESTION #1: Why do churches need to consider placing security measures in place?

Answer:

Pastor Bob Burgess:

“… in the Old Testament when the tabernacle and the place of worship was there, this was God’s business. They would have porters who would watch the doors, who would guard the doors. They would even have watchmen on the wall who would announce the stranger that was coming. Nothing unusual.

The church actually got away from that as we know it today. And I want to say that even in the Book of Revelation Chapter 2, when you go look at the very first church that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ writes that tells John to write to at Ephesus, he’s praising them because they’re standing against evil, and they’re vetting those that are coming in under false pretense, false apostles, the whole nine yards there. He’s praising them for that, and then when you get into that fourth church at Thyatira, he’s praising them, but what he’s not praising them for is the evil has come in because they’re letting it in, and Christ is holding them responsible for that to the extent that he says that he would remove their candlestick.

So, I know it’s within our Savior’s will that we as under-Shepherds that oversee the flocks that’s he’s appointed us over, he has put us in a position to lead them, to feed them, but also to protect them to the best of the abilities that he affords us to have. And that’s what we need to understand that if we’re going to preach the word of God and we believe this, we have to realize that evil is not, is not a symptom. Evil is a disease. What this man did in Texas is a symptom of that disease. I don’t like chasing emotional bones. I’m more of a factual kind of guy. When I say that this evil act is a symptom, this man shooting and killing those innocent people in a soft target with no defense, that is pure evil. I agree with that, but the evil existed before he executed that evil wrath. That was a symptom of the evil.

We have to realize that it’s out here. It’s not just realizing when it’s too late and it’s manifested itself. My fellowship with my church family, we can sit down in our fellowship, and we can break bread and have meals together, and they have spoons and forks and knives, and nobody kills each other with them. You go into a prison, and they’ll stab you to death with a spoon. What’s the difference? Is it the spoon and the fork? It is not. The difference is the evil that exists there.

I go outside today where I’m at, it’s kind of cold. I’m not real fond of the cold, gentlemen, but that cold is in absence of heat. We as pastors need to realize what godlessness really is. I don’t expect the world, I don’t expect the politicians, I don’t expect the left, the right, the middle, the fence riders for that matter to understand that. My Bible tells me that the god of this world, small “g”, in II Corinthians 4:4 has blinded the minds of those who are without the glorious light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, simply meaning this: they have no spiritual discernment. We can’t chase this emotionally. We have to look at it factually, and the facts that God gives us through his Word is how we must look at that.”

To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.

11-7-17: Shepherds Protect Their Flocks

QUESTION #2: What is the Pastor’s responsibility when it comes to physically protecting his congregation?

Answer:

Sam Rohrer:

“…One of the things that you find through Scripture is that anyone in a position of authority, meaning they have people who they’re responsible for leading, guiding, however that may be. That is mother and father in the home. That is an employer and an employee in a company setting. It is a civil government authority, but it’s also clearly the pastor in the church.

One of the things I found in my study of Scripture is that really, all of those in a position of authority share a lot of basic responsibilities before God leading. Parents are to lead. Employers are to lead. Pastors to lead, they are to teach. They are to instruct, but one of them is also to protect. That’s the very nature of how God has set up all authority structure, so anyone who fails to do that, it’s no different than if they failed to teach or they failed to lead, or they failed, in this case, to protect. They all go together as God’s design because that’s really what God himself does. That’s what Jesus Christ came to do for those who follow him, and it’s really the model we are to follow, so anyone who forsakes any of those basic responsibilities including that matter of protecting is violating a God-given command for the positions they occupy.”

To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.

11-7-17: Watch Out for Evil

QUESTION #3: What suggestions do you give to churches to implement church security measures?

Answer:

Pastor Bob Burgess:

“…Again, the first thing that we need to be able to do, we always ask our church families to have the pastor’s heart. We teach that. We evangelize that, as well in our churches, and so we need to make sure our pastors have the right heart if we want our people to have their heart also.

And with that, I want to say this, that we watch out for evil. I’m a saved man, so the Holy Spirit of God indwells this tabernacle that you’re hearing speak right now, and as the Holy Spirit of God indwells me, this man in Texas had an evil spirit that indwelled him. So, what I’m saying is whether the Holy Spirit or the evil spirit, either one comes embodied in the physical. We cannot ignore the physical if we expect to be successful spiritually, and when a threat comes upon our church family, it’s going to come in the physical. When it endangers lives, it’s going to come in the physical. We should not be remiss in understanding that…

I have a comprehensive training for my security people that I have trained. I go to other churches upon their request and do that. The Lord has given me the skills, the ability, and the experiences. He gave them to me. I give them back to him in as much that I offer this service to churches, and I don’t charge them for this. This is God’s family. This is God’s work. But I want to say this, gentlemen: If we don’t wake up, if we don’t realize… that that staff that we carry has a hook on one end to pull in the wayward sheep, but it has a point on the other end to drive away the wolves. I ask the pastors why we have bylaws in constitutions to tell us how the people within the church family must conduct themselves if we’re going to let the world come into the church exempt from those kinds of rules?

You see, the world got married to the church a long time ago, and too many pastors have fallen asleep at the preacher’s desk, and they’re looking for numbers. They think that this love that they’re extending is beyond all costs, and I don’t believe that’s what the Lord intended us to do.”

To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.

11-7-17: The “Heart” of the Issue on Gun Control Laws

QUESTION #4: Will stricter gun control laws eliminate the kind of violence we saw in Texas?

Answer:

Bob Burgess:

“Absolutely not, and … I’m going to go back to my high school days… And back during those days during hunting season, we could bring in shotguns in the back of our pickup trucks or in the trunks of our cars, get on an early out during hunting season, and go, and so my simple question to all of the emotional decision makers out there in radio land is this: Did the gun change? Did the gun change? No, it’s not the gun that’s changed; it’s the people who have changed. The gun hasn’t changed a bit since my high school days of carrying a gun in your pickup truck to go hunting. A gun is a gun is a gun. It has not changed. It’s the hearts of people.

We are growing more and more wicked, the heart is. The evil one, which is Satan himself, our Bible tells us to be sober, to be vigilant, because he’s like a roaring lion looking to see who he can get, and we as pastors need to believe what we’re saying and what we’re reading, and what God’s telling us, and we need to wake up. We need to wake up. We need to protect our flocks. We need to be able to put together a security program. Our doors do not have to be open. Hear me pastors, your doors do not have to be open. Christ himself chastised churches for letting evil into the church. It’s worse and worse and worse.”

To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.

11-7-17: Balancing Faith & Church Security

Question #5: Where does faith come into the picture?

Answer:

Pastor Bob Burgess:

“I trust my Lord. I trust my Savior. I trust him tremendously. I’m surprised that He would use me to oversee His flock, but He trusts me to oversee his flock, and that’s a two-way street there. I am accountable and responsible. He tells me that I watch for their souls. That’s a spiritual, but I also watch for their safety and well-being and absolutely, I do not believe that is a lack of faith to have a conviction to protect the house of God. The house of God, I do not believe, biblically, was not meant to let the world in. Christ strikes out against that time after time. Why we have been conditioned, I do not believe we’ve been conditioned of God to let the world in the church. We’re supposed to go out into the world with the Gospel. It’s not the other way around.

We’re not supposed to bring the world into the church. It is the other way around. So, if we’re being lazy, and we’re not going out spiritually to evangelize the lost with the Gospel and the spreading of the Word of God, and we think we can do it sitting in a pulpit and let them come to us, we’re going to be found with egg on our face when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ.”

To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.

10 Action Steps Every Church Should Consider Regarding Security

More than a week after the horrific, tragic and frightening shooting at a rural Texas church, many church leaders are thinking seriously about their own church security and what may need to be done to protect their congregations.

Leaders from the American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, have discussed the tragedy with pastors, held strategic conference calls on the topic and addressed the news on the APN radio ministry, “Stand in the Gap Today” (listen here and here), heard on 425 stations around the country.

“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 First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Because of the magnitude of the destruction of lives there through violence, church leaders are now considering demolishing the church building, after the hopes and dreams of 26 lives were demolished on November 5. 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.”

After conversations over the past week, Rohrer and other APN leaders developed 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.
  5. Install security cameras.Consider video surveillance to document and record potential threats or incidents.
  6. Establish a medical response team.Mobilize medical personnel already within the congregation who can take action if injuries ever occur.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  • Communicate the new or existing security measures with the congregation.Members will appreciate knowing the church has a plan to keep them safe.

Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

9-26-17: In the Footsteps of the Founders

QUESTION #1: How did the concept of a Pastors Network begin?

Answer:

Sam Rohrer:

“…After being office for nearly 20 years, and realizing that I was a minister of God. I’m talking personally. I was called as a minister of God in government, Romans 13, and then he called me to preach.

After being in office, and being involved in so many things, it became very obvious to me that very clearly the problems in America were not going to be solved by anybody in office, by nobody in office. They’re not going to solve these problems, because we don’t primarily have political problems. We have spiritual problems in this nation. I asked God, I asked the Lord, “You know, in your plan, in your economy, Lord, as you’ve laid out for the ruling of societies, and for the proper governors of all that you put in place, where is the one place that is most given the responsibility to preach the truth that actually is going to speak into people’s hearts and make a difference? That was the pulpit, and that’s what God laid on my heart and said, if there’s going to be a return to God in this nation, if there’s going to be a move of God in Revival, if there’s going to be a move of God in the hearts of people, it’s going to have to come from the pulpits of America, and that was where God took and put together that concept with what was then the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network which was just a framework of a name, but they had a byline with it that said, “In the footsteps of the founders.” When I talked with the individual who initiated that, I said, “That puts it together.” The pulpit, the pastors, and in our nation’s history where we have a Constitution and God’s blessing, it was our founders, in the footsteps of the founders. “

Well, Gary, out of that came what we now talk about in this program, Bible based and constitutionally based. Our nation is here because our founding pastors, and our founding fathers, yielded to God’s plan for this nation, for their lives, and on that God then took and built what we now have around us, and our need is to get back to what they knew, what God said long ago, and what still applies for today. “

To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.

9-26-17: Riding the Airwaves

QUESTION #2: How did the radio program come about as a ministry production of APN?

Answer?

Sam Rohrer:

“…I think it was in January 2014, that Gary, Dave, and I met with Dale Armstrong, who’s actually in Ukraine here right now as we’re speaking; and we went away, and we said, “What do we need? How do we feel God leading in our lives? How do we take the truth of God’s Word as ministers of the gospel that are committed to the authority of scripture, and salvation by faith in Christ alone, and with God’s help have the courage to preach it, how do we respond and do God’s will by emphasizing the pulpit, but know that, really, the message is to everybody in the pews?” How do we take, and do that?

We talked in that group and said, “You know what, we really could envision something in radio that could take the truth of the gospel, and the truth of biblical world view and put it out there.” You talked about it, Gary, and Dale. We talked, and we prayed about this, and God then opened up, because on this station, our anchor station, which is where we go through right now. The station is WFYL. It’s out of Valley Forge, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

The owners of that station came and said, “You know what, God’s laid on our heart that you guys really ought to have a program that actually does what you’re talking about,” and really, out of that came our weekend program, and this daily program. God moved in their lives to communicate to meet a need that God had placed in our lives, a vision, put it together and now, low and behold, here it is two years plus, this program, Stand in the Gap Today, starting on three stations, went to six stations, and now on over 450 radio stations across the country, and on satellite, communicating to almost a million people a day. Ladies and Gentlemen, is that of God or what?”

To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.

9-26-27: Putting the $ Where the Mouth Is

QUESTION #3: With all of the other ways to communicate, why does radio still present an excellent opportunity to reach people with truth?

Answer:

Dr. Gary Dull:

Well, you know, I believe in radio and, of course, I’ve been doing daily radio since 1977. I still believe that even with the development of all sorts of technology, and the social media, that right now radio is the most cost-efficient way to reach the most amount of people in the shortest period of time. You know, right now we are reaching over a million people, from what they tell us, and, of course, with all three of our programs, Stand in the Gap Today, Stand in the Gap Minutes, Stand in the Gap Weekend, we are on over 1000 radio stations.

The moment that that message goes out it reaches people, it touches hearts, and we’ve been able to see people respond to it over and over again. I have the fortune of being in a market where the Stand in the Gap program airs. We’re on an AM station and an FM station here in Central Pennsylvania, and consistently I’ve got people coming up to me and saying, “Thank you for what you’re putting on the radio station.”

We’ve got one group of people who call us, The Three Boys, and they will call each other right before the program comes on the air and says, “It’s time to listen to the boys,” and they put everything down and go listen to the radio program, and consistently I’m having people come up to me and say, “Thank you for airing that program, or this program.”

The reason why it ministers to the hearts of people is because we are portraying the truth. The essence behind the American Pastors’ Network and, particularly, this program, Stand in the Gap Ministry, is to bring the circumstances, and the situations, of life to bear according to the Word of God, and the United States Constitution. When we look at the events of the day in light of those two contexts, the Word of God and the Constitution, God takes that and uses it, and people are benefited by it, as they respond to it they go into action and make a difference for Christ all across the nation.”

To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.