6-21-18: Mid-Term Election Momentum Shifting

Sam Rohrer:                 Well will it be a blue wave this year, where Democrats and the left make substantial gains and take back the Senate or the House as they say they will? Well, now that the elections, a lot of the midterm elections and ones this week on Tuesday are behind us, some facts are becoming more clearly known, but accurate research by the American Culture and Faith Institute gives us really good insight into the mind of the electorate, particularly the Christian electorate that made the difference in the 2016 election and the role that they will likely play in the general election here in 2018.

Sam Rohrer:                 Today we’re going to take with George Barna. He’s researcher and executive director of the American Culture and Faith Institute, and obviously if you’ve been listening to the program often, George is with us regularly, in breaking key research that they have put together, but he’s going to talk to us today about a special report that he just released yesterday on this issue.

Sam Rohrer:                 We’re also going to talk with George in the last segment about whether Christians in the pulpit in America are awakening to the reality of the challenges before us and a number of other things through this program, so you don’t want to miss it. I encourage you to stay tuned and stay with us all the way through.

Sam Rohrer:                 Now with that brief walk through today’s headlines, I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap today. I’m Sam Rohrer. I’m going to be joined by Dr. Gary Dull and of course our special guest, George Barna, executive director of the American Culture and Faith Institute. With that, I want to welcome you right off here, George, to Stand in the Gap Today, I appreciate you being with us again.

George Barna:              Thanks Sam. It’s great to be back.

Sam Rohrer:                 I want to get right into this George. Your latest, I’m going to put it at hot off the press research summary that you just released. You did a research report. You included about 1000 people as I read that, across the nation, in that survey. You check out their attitudes regarding voting this year and what might be expected regarding the blue wave resurgence, that I talked about, that’s being touted by Democrats and leftist pundits.

Sam Rohrer:                 But we have the results of a lot of primary elections, midterm elections in the bag now. They’re done, so we have some of that knowledge, but if I read your report correctly, you seem to be far more focused on the fall general election. Before we get into the results and the findings, we’ll do that in the bulk of the program here. When did you actually conduct this survey and this research? Who was the target sample, the audience there? How accurate plus or minus whatever, is this information that you got?

George Barna:              I mean overall just to describe the research, what we were trying to get was a snapshot of the attitudes, the expected behavior and other election related insights from this. We wanted to be able to focus people’s attention on the election because what we’re finding is that in this midterm election, as is usually the case, not very many people are paying much attention to it.

George Barna:              We did the sample of 1000 people in mid-May. We actually did another one this past week, companion survey, which supports all of what we had in the report. We targeted all adults across the country, people 18 years of age and older, all 50 states, proportional to the population in those states. The demographic profile of the sample that we have is virtually identical to that of the population across the country.

George Barna:              After the fact, what we do is based on the way people answer different questions about some of their attitudes, some of their religious beliefs and behavior, we put people into different segments, such as likely voters or different faith groups or different demographic groups. That enables us to make some of the comparisons and projections that we’ll be talking about.

George Barna:              One important caveat here is that we got to remember that we’re doing this five months before election day. There’s still a number of primaries that have not yet run across the country in some states. Things do change. People’s attention generally picks up in elections after Labor Day. So between Labor Day and Election Day is when people really start to tune in. But this gives us an initial sense of where things are at. You wouldn’t want to bet a lot of money on what we’re finding right now, but it gives you a directional idea of where things are headed.

Gary Dull:                     Yeah, it’s interesting to be able to watch the trends anyway, George and see how things are coming along as we draw closer to Labor Day and so forth. From what you have found so far, let’s dig a little bit deeper into that. As of today, do you think that there’s going to be a massive blue wave in the general election or are we too far out to be able to even get an idea on that?

George Barna:              What we’ve been doing, Gary, along with a number of other pollsters who do similar kinds of things, is trying to gauge who has the momentum and in which direction is it moving. So, you never know until election day, but if things were to continue on the same track as we see happening now, and we take historical realities into consideration, what we would suggest is that a blue wave was predicted earlier. Right now that momentum has changed. If anything maybe there will be a blue trickle, but probably not a blue wave.

George Barna:              We believe that in all likelihood, based on what we’re seeing now, that the Democrats will probably pick up some seats in the House. The Senate is going to remain relatively split. There are a number of very close races right now, so we’re going to have to wait to see what unfolds over the next five months. The momentum right now actually has turned to the Republican Party, away from the Democratic Party.

George Barna:              Largely that has to do with the economy. We can talk about that, but nothing is precise at this point in time. Again, there is very limited intensity in terms of people’s attention. We’re expecting a relatively average turnout, come November. If the election were held today, turnout would be actually below normal. We would project 33% turnout today. Normally in our midterm elections it’s in the 36, 37, 38% range. We believe it will probably escalate to that point by November but certainly this is not one of those elections where people seem to be very passionate about what’s going on.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well George, we’re going to talk more about that, about that passion. You, as I’ve looked through this research, there are some tremendous, tremendous things that you’ve pulled out of there with attitudes of Americans towards where we’re going politically, where we’re going culturally, where we’re going economically. I think all those things factor into it. But just in another 30 seconds here, when you do this research, what are you hoping to really ultimately impact? Is it people’s reactions? People’s thoughts? People’s plannings? What’s the real goal here?

George Barna:              The bottom line on everything, as you know Sam is action. Attitudes relate to action. Often they precede that action, but what I’d like to do with the research is to wake people up, particularly conservative Christians. I’d like them to understand that we cannot get complacent because some things are moving in what we perceive to be a positive direction. The reality is that this is a war. This is part of a larger culture war that continues to take place, although some people are trying to lull us into complacency and say, oh the culture wars ended years ago.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well in the 2016 general election, we all know that the results of that presidential election in particular rocked the political world. The pundits were not only admitting defeat and surprise during the year regarding their guesses. They were nearly all shocked and mostly humiliated because they were wrong in the general election.

Sam Rohrer:                 That anger and that shock resulting from the election upset is still being witnesses 18 months later with all of the bogus Russia investigations underway, the unfolding evidences of embedded corruption and conspiratorial actions from top levels of government of the former Obama administration, as they are seeking to avoid prosecution. But all of this is going on at the same time while they are relentlessly harassing the Trump administration and they’re being forced to fend off continual opposition from people still buried outside in the press as well as inside throughout government.

Sam Rohrer:                 The polls and the research, as you all know ladies and gentlemen, are all over the board, once again talking about what will happen, what’s going to happen and ultimately though we know, it’s going to be that final vote that’s going to make the real difference. Yet however, accurate research that’s done honestly, particularly with the people who made the election in 2016 a reality, is very helpful to us. It does tell us a story, not only about the status of these people today, but the likely results of the impact of these folks in the fall of 2018.

Sam Rohrer:                 I want to go back now to our special guest George Barna who in his latest research, a midterm update, has picked up a lot of information we want to try and uncover in this program. George if I could do this, let’s pick up where we left off. You’d said that your research indicates that there will likely not be a major big blue wave. I think you actually used the word, maybe a blue trickle. But you also used the phrase that there would not be any red surprise either. Now what is it, as we start to get into some details now, what is it about the attitudes of the likely voters you interviewed that makes you come to the conclusion that there will be no blue wave, but I also want you to talk about what you mean by no red surprise.

George Barna:              Yeah, there are a number of different things that we looked at in terms of attitudes. We looked at issues. We know for instance that Democrats right now and liberals are feeling much more intensely engaged with this upcoming midterm election than are either conservatives or Republicans. When we look at likely turnout, we find that Democrats at the moment would be more likely to actually turn out to vote. They’ve been playing closer attention to politics and government news. They’re more likely to believe that this upcoming midterm is extremely or very important, which of course is insightful because it tells us about people’s motivation to actually participate in the election.

George Barna:              They’re more likely to say the country’s moving in the wrong direction on a number of different indicators, so we look at all of that, and we say, okay, we know the Democrats and the liberals are motivated to some extent. When we look at Republicans, we don’t see that same level of intensity. However, there are pockets of the conservative constituency particularly in the sage-cons, where we find they are well tuned into what’s going on, even at this early stage of the election.

George Barna:              It’s too early to make any hard and fast predictions, but if we look at what’s going to happen, we think yeah. The Democrats may pick up a few seats here and there in the house, but they may even up the score in the Senate. That remains to be seen. We’re expecting them to pick up a few races among governor candidates, gubernatorial candidates, but we don’t think that a sweep from either side is likely. Some real zealous panelists have been saying, “Oh look at where the momentum’s going right now.” It’s moving right now back toward conservatives and Republicans and therefore there’s ultimately going to be a big red surprise in November. We don’t see that happening either.

Gary Dull:                     You know it’s interesting George, to see how Donald Trump is dealing with this because traditionally midterm elections is a time when the opposite time that is in the White House seemingly makes increase. He’s out there trying to stir up the troops and say, “We can’t be lazy. We need to get out there and work on this, so that we can come away victorious in the midterms.” It’s going to be interesting to see how all of that works out.

Gary Dull:                     But in the report that you put out yesterday George, you present some very interesting data. For instance, you show that 69% of the people are angry about the state of America. 66% say America is going down the wrong path politically. 68% say that America is going in the wrong direction culturally. 77% which is interesting say America is going in the wrong direction morally and then 42% say America is going in the wrong direction economically. Those are some very interesting statistics. Yet, along with that, you show that 45% of Americans approve of the job that Donald Trump is doing. So my question and I’m sure the question of a lot of our listeners is simply this. How do you reconcile those statistics?

George Barna:              Well, Gary, you know it’s interesting. When you look at, at this range of perspectives that Americans possess, there are several things that jump out. One is that fact that now a majority of people actually say that we’re moving in the right direction economically. Now we haven’t had that in more than a decade. That’s a big deal, and the reason it’s a big deal is because when we talk about the nation being on the wrong track politically or culturally or morally, people don’t think as often about those issues. Sometimes they don’t experience the reality of those things the way that they do what’s happening economically in the country.

George Barna:              So economics is, well has been for the last probably 15 years, maybe more, the top issue that people are always concerned about. When they vote for a candidate, one of the things in their mind is what’s this guy going to do or what’s this woman going to do to my pocketbook? Are their hands going to be in my wallet or are they going to be putting money back in my wallet? That’s a big deal. Everybody pays attention to that.

George Barna:              This is a big transition. So that’s one of the things that conservatives and Republican candidates have going for them in this upcoming election. The other thing that’s really interesting to me about this, or another thing is the fact that so many people have remained angry about the state of America, but as we’ve probed on the nature of that anger, we found that it transitioned. During the Obama years, conservatives and Republicans were angry about the social policies. They were angry about the terrorism policies and the foreign policies of the Obama administration. They were angry about how the media was covering what that administration was doing.

George Barna:              Now that’s transitioned and you’ve got a lot of that kind of anger in terms of policy and what not, held by the Democrats and the liberals. There’s been a real transition. The bottom line I would say is that here in America, we’re in an almost perpetual state of dissatisfaction and distrust of our political system and our political actors. That culture war is still raging. It’s interesting to keep monitoring these things and seeing what’s happening and how it’s all going to play out.

Sam Rohrer:                 George, the numbers, when I’m looking at them, and you touched on it a little bit, but when I see numbers like 77% saying we’re going in the wrong direction morally, that is a big, big number. Now, are those people thinking that we, I mean again, this is a sample that you’ve made, but some people could say that they don’t like the fact that there may be a moral direction. Others maybe don’t like the fact that we may be going in an immoral direction. Can you tell us anymore about what they mean by direction morally?

George Barna:              Yeah. I mean essentially what we’re talking about here Sam, as you know, it’s a worldview issue. This is where the battle of the worldviews is seen within one of these kinds of frameworks. We’ve got three out of hour people saying they don’t like what’s happening morally in the country, but then when you split it down across faith groups, you would find that there are different reasons for that.

George Barna:              For instance, among the Sage-cons, the spiritual active, governance, engaged conservative Christians, people who take their Christian faith very seriously, they consistently read and try to live by the bible, they look at what’s going on in our culture and they say we’re moving farther away from God. We’re saying that pornography is okay. Divorce is okay. Adultery is okay, and so on and so forth. We talked about that in the previous program.

George Barna:              That concerns them. On the other hand, you’ve got liberals who are looking at our moral condition and they’re saying, I can’t believe that y’all are taking away funding from Planned Parenthood because now women aren’t going to be able to have abortions when they want them. I can’t believe that you’re trying to put more limitations on things. You’re trying to run things by the rule of law, but the laws are unjust. Therefore we shouldn’t be doing that. We need to change those laws. You have this constant conflict that’s taking place between these two sides because we’ve got this differing worldviews which are the underpinning of those perspectives.

Sam Rohrer:                 And I would say then, based on what you’re saying, that when you define the word wrong, 77% of Americans say we’re going in the wrong direction morally, the definition of wrong would be determined by those people’s particular worldview of what is meant by wrong. Is that what you’re saying?

George Barna:              Yeah, absolutely. The other fascinating thing about it of course, is that when we talk about what direction the country’s moving in, there are even different perspectives there. Because conservatives would say, okay with Mr. Trump in office, certain things have gotten better. Those same things are what people on the other side of the aisle would say no, no. That’s what’s making our country worse. That’s the wrong direction there. That’s not the right direction. So you’ve even got that kind of clash there.

Sam Rohrer:                 See that’s why I think you’re saying George that we’re in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. Conservatives would be on one side. The others are on the other side but it comes back to biblical worldview and that makes a big difference which then further complicates the whole thought of what’s going to happen.

Sam Rohrer:                 Now in George Barna’s recent book about the 2016 elections, that he entitled “The Day Christians Changed America,” that book you can find on Amazon or on the America Culture and Faith Institute website. George may mention it a little bit more, but in that book, George documented how Christian engagement in that election and how they did engage in election in a way that perhaps was not seen before. It determined an election that really defied history and shocked the world.

Sam Rohrer:                 There’s no question that the world would be a far more dangerous place today, right now, for Christians and for Jews in particular, for America and Israel, had Christians not gotten out and voted and yes, God did work a miracle. But that is now history. The question is, now, what is the attitude and the level of engagement by that same group? Is the passion still there? Based on what we know now, according to the latest American Culture and Faith Institute research, should we be alarmed? Should we be encouraged? Should we be warned or should we be fore-armed? We’re going to talk about that right now with George Barna. Thanks George for being with us and again taking time out of your schedule to be here.

George Barna:              It’s always good to be here.

Sam Rohrer:                 You’ve broken out George, throughout your research and this one in particular, as well. You define it there. Faith-oriented voters. You’ve broke it into these several categories. Born-again Christians which you said comprise about 30% of the total electorate. Notional Christians, the way you term them, they comprise about 40%. You have a category of skeptics that comprise about a 21%. Other faith, 9% and then there’s the group that you’ve described as Sage-cons, comprising between 8 and 10% or between 20 and 25 million voters. Now I wanted to differentiate these a little bit for our listener’s benefit, but which one of them played the most significant role in the 2016 election? I want you to answer that, and do you see them playing an equally important role here in 2018?

George Barna:              Well, Sage-cons really were a hugely significant group, back in the middle of, really the beginning of the presidential campaign, early to the middle of 2015. They had no interest in Donald Trump. Only about 9% said they would ever vote for hin. Come Election Day in November 2016, 91% of them actually turned out to vote, and of that 91%, 93% voted for Donald Trump. There was a major transition that took place there. They still didn’t like him. They still didn’t trust him, but when they looked at the issues that mattered to them and the candidate chances that were before them, they realized they really didn’t have much choice. They had to vote for Mr. Trump.

George Barna:              They’ve been pretty pleasantly surprised since he took office. That group is somewhere on the order of 8, 9, 10% of the voting population. They are all born-again Christians. They are all heavily involved in their faith, but also get involved in politics because they believe the bible calls them to be engaged in all aspects of life, including government and politics.

George Barna:              They’re going to play a major role in this upcoming election. Right now, when we look at where things stand, they are the single segment that is most likely to vote among all the conservatives in the country. Roughly half of them are likely to vote, currently. That may go up before November. When you compare that to the rest of conservatives, they’re about 10, 11 percentage points behind Sage-cons when you back them out of the numbers.

George Barna:              Now the other group that was important was notional Christians. These are people who consider themselves to be Christian, but they would say that after they die, they really don’t know what’s going to happen to them. They hope that God will show his mercy on them, give them grace. They say that they’re trying to live in a way that will convince God. They deserve eternal salvation but they don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross for them and that they can appropriate that kind of salvation through his grace, through that manner.

George Barna:              That’s an important group because they’re 40% of the population. In that last election, they were also important because for the first time in about eight elections, they actually sided with the Republican candidate. They typically go for the Democratic candidate by a 49 to 40% margin. In that last election, they voted in favor of Mr. Trump. Once again, they’ll be significant but remember. They’re not conservative by and large. They are much more moderate. They don’t pay as much attention. They’re less likely to vote, lower turn out levels. All of these kinds of things. Different positions on many key issues, such as abortion. Again, watching these groups is critical.

George Barna:              You mentioned also that one of the groups we tracked is called skeptics. These are the atheists, the agnostics, people who say they have no interest in faith. That is the fastest growing faith group in America today. They’re currently about 21% of the population. That’s a group that invariably votes for the more liberal candidates. Typically for Democratic candidates. In the last election, if we look at what happened, Christians voted for Trump. Non-Christians voted for Clinton. It was a really clearcut margin. 57% of the Christians of all types, sage-con, born-again, evangelical, notional, 57% for Trump, 37% for Clinton. Non-Christians, whether we’re talking about people aligned with other faith groups or the skeptics, 62% went for Clinton. Only 26% went for Trump. So again, there was a clear worldview distinction there.

Gary Dull:                     You know, George, I think it’s serious for us to recognize that the fastest growing faith group as it were to be called are the skeptics. I think that shows us that as the church, we have a lot of work to do in the area of evangelism and something like that should be of great concern to pastors and committed Christians across our nation.

Gary Dull:                     But, let’s dig into this just a little bit more if you may. We have talked on this program at various times about the divide that’s in the United States of America today. In fact, on the National Day of Prayer this year, the theme was unity because it’s recognized that we are divided in the nation. In your research though, you dig into that deeper and show that there’s even a great division among Christians. The born-again, notional, sage-cons and so forth and so on. Of course, you know, that division could make an impact upon the election as well.

Gary Dull:                     I’m wondering if you could please describe those differences for our audience. What do you think is going to be the outcome of those differences? What are those differences? What are they? Which ones are growing and which ones are shrinking?

George Barna:              Okay, to go a little bit beyond what we said just a moment ago, if we look at sage-cons, they are all conservatives not only in their social and political views, but also in their theological views. They read the bible regularly. They believe the bible is God’s word. They take it at face value and they believe that their responsibility on earth is to be the kingdom of God, to really take those biblical principles and put them into practice every moment of every day that they’re alive.

George Barna:              These are people who because they try to do that, believe that they have to be involved in government and politics, not because it’s a natural inclination or something they’re naturally interested in, but they believe God has called them to be that kind of salt and light in the culture and therefore they can’t ignore a whole area of government. We find that they tend to be more engaged than other people. They’re all born-again Christians, but they also believe that they have a personal responsibility to be sharing their faith in Christ and their views about salvation and forgiveness with other people.

George Barna:              That differentiates from born-again Christians, most of whom in America today would say yes, they all believe that they’re going to go to heaven after they die, only because they confess their sins, they accepted Christ as their savior. But sadly, what’s happened over the last 25 years in this country is that most born-again Christians no longer share their faith in Christ with others. It has become something so personal that they’re grateful to go for saving, but they’re not necessarily sharing that kind of gratitude and perspective with others.

George Barna:              Oddly we find that born-again Christians are more moderate than you would find sage-cons to be. A much smaller proportion of them have a biblical worldview. They’re just about evenly split between being Democrats and Republicans and in the last 10 years, they’ve actually been moving to the left politically. Notional Christians tend to be moderate when it comes to theology as well as politics and even morality. They’re much more lenient if you will when it comes to moral perspective.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well today we’re talking about research, and the latest research from the America Culture and Faith Institute of which George Barna is the executive director and the one who oversees that. In the area of research, we hear it all the time, but research is good, oftentimes, if it’s done accurately, but it tends to give just a snapshot picture of a point in time. But when you accurately conduct it over lengthy period of time, it does begin to point to an accurate picture of a direction or change or other key factors.

Sam Rohrer:                 The work done by George Barna and now the America Culture and Faith Institute is perhaps, in my opinion, one of the most valuable resources of research regarding Christian thought and action in America, where it was and where it’s going. To give us some greater insight now as we head into the concluding sector here, as we think about what may happen in the 2018 general election, I want to continue in our discussion with George.

Sam Rohrer:                 If I could George, if I could just ask you a question from this fashion. If there was something that came out of this midterm report and link it with others if you can, if you need to, but on a trend basis, whatever. Is there a warning sign or an alarm bell? Take it from a negative perspective first and we want to come back and ask you on the positive, but is there a warning sign or an alarm bell that should be sounded in regard to this research that you conducted, as it relates to Christians and their attitudes toward government policy, candidates, upcoming elections and those kinds of things that we’re talking about here that affect the culture? Is there anything that came out of this that you would want to highlight?

George Barna:              I think there are a few things Sam. Certainly one of those is that people don’t seem to understand the earlier you get involved in these kind of elections, the better off things are going to be, the more influence that you’re going to have. So rather than waiting for the last few weeks before a general election to start doing a little bit of homework and paying attention to the candidates and what they’re about, determining who those candidates are going to be is what the primaries are all about.

George Barna:              That goes a long way towards determining what’s actually going to happen in November and beyond. That’s one thing, is that we don’t seem to be aware of how significant it is to be involved early on. Secondly, I’m concerned about the degree of apathy and complacency, particularly among Christians, not necessarily sage-cons, but among other Christians, regarding what’s taking place in the country.

George Barna:              When 77% say we’re moving in the wrong direction morally, and then we don’t do anything about the people who put into place the laws that to a large extent influence if not determine the morality of our country, well, there’s our problem right there. We’re not playing the game. We got to be active. The third thing that has come out of not just this study, but other ones that we’ve been doing over the last number of years, is that we continue to see that the local church is not really involved in this process of arming people with information, biblical perspective really, on how to think about the issues and then what is our responsibility? What can we do? What should we do as followers of Christ, as people of God’s word to actually have a positive impact on the culture that ultimately will enable us to honor him and be a better representation of the Kingdom of God?

Gary Dull:                     You know George, you bring something up there, and I saw the two fold question for you. You say the church really isn’t actively involved, so people really in the pews are not being armed to get involved effectively. The question that I have is do the people in the pews want to be armed? Across the nation, if you have a pastor who says we need to deal with these issues, I need to arm the people, I need to talk to them about these facts, does the average church have people within their pews who really want to be armed? Then a second fold aspect of the question is, do you see any positive trends as the results of Christians being engaged in the 2016 election? If there is a positive trend there, what would that trend be?

George Barna:              You know, Gary, in relation to the first question, do the people in the pews actually want to be informed, in a way it doesn’t matter. I mean, if you’re going to be the church …

Gary Dull:                     Good point.

George Barna:              One of the responsibilities of a leader is to motivate people to care about the things that really matter. So the issue here I think is one of do we have leaders leading us, and secondly are they really preparing the people? Are they equipping them to be agents of transformation in our culture? What we know from our research is that most senior pastors say they’re not leaders but they’re gifted teachers. They’ve been called by God to teach his truths.

George Barna:              Well, fine. That’s good enough. If you’re given that audience, there’s a group of people there who need to know certain truths about how the bible relates to our culture today. So a good teacher is somebody who will make the material interesting enough and will motivate people sufficiently to pay attention and then act upon that. I can guarantee you that people aren’t coming to the church wanting to know about Jonah. They’re not really wanting to know about the implications of their own sin, but a great teacher will make people pay attention to those topics and in the same way, a great teacher needs to help Christians sitting in the pews to be aware of the fact that this country’s future depends on Christians taking it to a better place.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well I think that’s a good answer, and I appreciate that, because I think pastors all across the nation need to hear what you had to say there. It was Lee Iacocca who used to say, and I think it goes back beyond him, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” I hate to put it that way, but that’s something to take into consideration. Go ahead, George.

George Barna:              Yeah, and then in relation to your second question, are there some positive trends that are coming out of this, you know, well certainly I think the data that we have about sage-cons is showing that based on what happened in the 2016 election, now they’re a little bit more confident in themselves. They know that they can make a difference. They know that their vote is important. They know that many elections hinge on a 1% or 2% point difference in the voting. So, they are still very much engaged. They are staying informed. They are trying to get other people onboard as well.

George Barna:              I think also the other thing that we’ve seen, an increasing number of people who were kind of standing on the sidelines before have been watching what Donald Trump’s been doing, and thankfully they’ve remained open-minded enough to say, you know what? He actually does, has done some things that have turned out for the good of the country, and so maybe we need to continue to give this guy a chance. He is maybe not of our moral persuasion. He maybe doesn’t use Twitter the way that we think he should use it, but as a leader of the country, he’s done some things that are for our good and to our advantage. We need to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Sam Rohrer:                 All right. George, these are all fantastic things. It’s great information today. I’d like you, before we wrap up here, give the website to American Culture and Faith Institute. I think people can also sign up for your newsletter that you send out, and your book, “The Day Christians Changed America,” where can they find it? That information please.

George Barna:              Yeah, I mean the information about this study and all the studies we’re doing, you can find it at culturefaith.com. You can find it at georgebarna.com. Either of those places. They’ll have this particular report, all of our past reports. You can also get the book, “The Day Christians Change America,” either at culturefaith.com, georgebarna.com. Amazon.com sells it, so a lot of places where you can get it. Hopefully, it will be an encouragement that yes, not only do we have a responsibility, but we have evidence that when we participate, we make a difference.

Sam Rohrer:                 Ladies and gentlemen, as we wrap up the program today, I’m going to leave it with George just said. When we participate, when we act upon what we believe the bible tells us to do, understand our duties, it does make a difference. That should affect all of us.

 

6-14-18: Contending for the Faith

Isaac Crockett:             I’m joined by our regular host and the president of the American Pastors Network, the Honorable Sam Rohrer, and by Dr. Gary Dull, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He’s also, among many other things that he does, one of the hats that he wears is executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network. And we have our good friend with us, our special guest who’s been with us before, Dr. Joseph Green, pastor of Antioch Assembly in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and I’m Isaac Crockett, senior pastor at Hamburg Bible Church in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

Isaac Crockett:             Well, all eyes are on the Supreme Court of the United States of America this month, as they have over … I guess it’s over two dozen major cases affecting everything from religious liberty to online privacy, immigration laws, voting jurisdictions, unions, and other things that they are expected to make major decisions on this month before they get their usual, I guess you could call it kind of like the students get their summer break, they get a break at the end of June. And so everyone has probably heard the news from yesterday, and we talked about it on the program yesterday as well, but the Supreme Court ruled in favor in a large number, seven to two, favor of Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who turned down the request of a homosexual couple to make a specialty cake for their same-sex marriage. He felt that it was against his religious beliefs.

Isaac Crockett:             So, Sam, could you maybe give us a little bit of an update and kind of recap some of what you talked about yesterday with Mat Staver from Liberty Counsel, who was in the courtroom when the decision was made? Just kind of clear up what went on there with this kind of culturally explosive subject, and explain to our listeners what the ramifications, and what kind of precedent this might be setting for us.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, I can, Isaac, and there’s a lot of discussion out there. I’ve been listening to commentary from those who were in favor of the baker, Jack Phillips, those I’ve heard from that are in favor of … Support a position of LGBT rights, and both, in many cases, are saying, “We won, we won.” I think at the end of the day, a couple walk-aways is this. I think the only real winner in this case was Jack Phillips himself. Jack Phillips was declared [inaudible 00:02:11] by the Court that the case against him could not stand, so he was a winner. However, does that mean that there was a win for morality? So, for those that, for instance, are supportive of Biblical values of marriage and what the Bible says about homosexual relationships not being Biblical, as an example, did that case do anything to decide that issue? The answer is no, it did not.

Sam Rohrer:                 This was not a ruling based on Biblical morality, it was not a win for the Bible, it was not a win for God, from that perspective. There was, though, a very narrow definition, and this is why I say it was not a win all across the board. It was narrowly defined, in that the judgment came down against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who were the ones who had raised the suit against Jack Phillips in the first place, and effectively, the Court said, “You, Civil Rights Commission, manifested more or less a hostile, totally over-biased position against Jack Phillips, and because you were overarching, we’re going to rule against you and say there has to be some kind of equality on the two sides of this issue.”

Sam Rohrer:                 That’s where they came down, so [inaudible 00:03:35] this. The other court cases that are before the Court on similar issues, and there are some out there, will this case as ruled by the Court mean it’s more favorable for these other cases that are coming up? And the answer is no, not really. I don’t think we can bear anything out and say that this ruling will negatively or positively affect any of the cases that are before the Supreme Court.

Isaac Crockett:             Wow, so it is interesting. It’s exciting to see that in this particular case, that there was some help for religious liberty, but we’re still kind of on the edge of our seats, then, waiting for more of these decisions to come out. Gary, we’ve talked a lot, and you and Sam and Dave especially have really focused on some of these things in the past that deal with the Supreme Court and the justices that work there. Could you maybe remind our listeners what the role of the justices serving in our Supreme Court, what their role is supposed to be, and then, while we’re talking about that, just … I would like to get your opinion of the job that is being done by the Justice Department, which is, of course, being led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, somebody that you have met with many times — you’ve had sessions with Sessions — and Sam and I actually just last fall got to meet with him in his role as Attorney General, and he’s, of course, a Trump appointee. So I’d just like to kind of see what you think of the job that’s going on, but also what the role should be of the Supreme Court.

Gary Dull:                     Well, I think that the role of the Supreme Court, according to our Constitution, is to basically … Not to make the rules, not to make the laws, but to interpret the law. In other words, when a case comes before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court has the responsibility to make certain that what is done is done according to the Constitution. I think that over the past years, and maybe we can go back a generation or two, where we have found that one of the fallacies of the Supreme Court is the fact that the Court has started to legislate from the bench, and I don’t believe that … Well, I know that that’s not in accordance with our Constitution. They are just basically to interpret the law, to make certain that every case that comes before them is indeed … Is good law, according to the Constitution. Over the years, I’ve got to say that I’ve been very concerned about that, but that’s what their responsibilities are, according to Article III of our Constitution.

Gary Dull:                     As it relates to the Justice Department, I don’t know. I have been kind of concerned, Isaac, about Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I have liked him down through the years, but I would have to say, to make maybe a long story short, I kind of think that he is a little lack in leading the Justice Department. I think there’s things that he should have done that would have strengthened his position there, that he’s walked away from or hasn’t done anything about. The only thing is, we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, you know that, Isaac? And because of that, it’s hard to make a full judgment, but I do have my concerns with the way Jeff Sessions is leading the Justice Department these days.

Isaac Crockett:             All right, thank you, Gary. Sam, just in a couple seconds here, is it important for our Supreme Court justices to take the Constitution and the laws literally, to be textualist, as they call it?

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, the answer is yes, it is, and that’s one of the big differences, and one of the things that are looked for in candidates that are proposed by the president for the Supreme Court, is how do they interpret the Constitution? To be a literalist, meaning taking what it says, that’s what they ought to do. I also put in here, there are some things that the justices should not ever do. They should not attempt to redefine God’s basis of morality that underpins the Constitution. They should not ever violate what the Constitution says in their ruling, and they should not ever usurp legislative authority or step into any other jurisdictions. Those are three things I put down as that they must never do, but I believe they sometimes have been doing.

Isaac Crockett:             We’re glad to have you with us, and as we started our program looking at the importance of the next few weeks, as we expect to see lots of rulings handed down from the Supreme Court, we were also getting into this whole issue that everyone seems to be talking about, the Court decision for Jack Phillips, the Christian baker. I just kind of want to use the story of Jack Phillips to transition into the overall topic of knowing when do we try to reach out — some might call it a compromise or capitulate — and when do we confront or counterattack what’s being done? And so I want to welcome our special guest, Dr. Joseph Green. He’s the pastor of Antioch Assembly in Harrisburg; he’s also an author, an entrepreneur, a businessman. I want to welcome him back to our radio program today. Joe, thanks so much for clearing your schedule to be with us on this day to talk about these important matters.

Joe Green:                   Thank you, Isaac. It is always a pleasure to be with you guys here at Standing in the Gap, so thank you for the invitation.

Isaac Crockett:             Now, Joe, you were recently with us on our TV program, Stand in the Gap. I guess you could call it Stand in the Gap TV. In fact, the second part of our interview with you airs tonight, for anybody who lives in the area around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, up to Williamsport and parts of New Jersey, or anyone who has Internet access can get it through our YouTube channels here at Stand in the Gap, as well as American Pastors Network, their app. Or you can just Google “Stand in the Gap TV,” and you can watch the interview that we have with Joe, the second part of that interview, or the first part of it, or any of the other ones that are archived there.

Isaac Crockett:             But on that program, you were speaking about racism, and about the 2019 Movement that you’ve started, and racial reconciliation. And in light of this news story with the Christian baker who refused to take part in this wedding by creating a special cake, how do you respond when people refer to his actions as being equal to racism and segregation, kind of comparing it to what took place in our country up until the 1950s and ’60s when the Civil Rights Movement brought in legal reforms, or even the government putting quotes out there, comparing this baker to Hitler, to the Nazi movement? How do you respond, somebody who’s working with reconciling racism? How do you respond when they compare this situation to racism?

Joe Green:                   Well, personally — and I get that question a lot, we’ve been having a lot of discussions about that topic over the years — and I personally, as a pastor and as a black male, I get offended by conflating the issue of race with civil rights and the LGBTQ agenda, because they’re very different, because one deals with the right of persons, when you’re talking about civil rights. The other deals with … They’re a matter of sexual preference or lifestyle choices. And to equate the baker with a Nazi is actually … It’s flipping the whole scenario, because if you understand fascism or Nazism or whatever, they were imposing their viewpoints on other people, so in essence, the couple that wanted to impose their lifestyle on the Christian baker was actually more as a fascist than the actual baker himself.

Joe Green:                   The example I use a lot, I got into a debate a few years ago, and the person sent me a picture of … You know, in the Jim Crow South, they had water fountains, and it would say “whites only,” or no coloreds could drink out of the water fountain. And I told him that you actually proved my point. I said, “Because think about … When you’re talking about the color of someone’s skin, and the civil rights was about basic principles of wanting to live a life, a normal life like everyone else, and to be segregated based on simple skin color was ridiculous.” And I said, “If a white homosexual male drank out of the water fountain, no one would be able to tell that he was a homosexual unless he told them, or unless he demonstrated something.” I said, “But no matter what I do, if I walk into a room, I don’t have to tell anyone that I’m an African American male; it’s very evident.”

Joe Green:                   And therein lies the primary difference. It’s about identity, it’s about who I am, and because of that fact, racism is so hurtful for many people because it’s something that I can’t change. I could be the greatest person in the world, but I’m being mistreated simply because of the color of my skin.

Isaac Crockett:             Joe, that is very helpful. That helps a lot as we talk about this topic. Now, Gary, as a pastor, we know the commands that Jesus gave us to love our enemies, and to go the extra mile, to turn the other cheek, and there are many times where we look at, for example, what Paul did, saying he wanted to be all things to all men for the gospel’s sake. And so, what are some ways or some issues that maybe some of our churches could be looking at doing a better job of being willing to make changes on things in order for the gospel to advance

Isaac Crockett:             For example, here at the American Pastors Network, we have an initiative called Bridging the Gap, and Joe is part of that as well, and it seeks to help bridge the divide in areas that sometimes divide our churches or our communities, things like age, ethnic background. Are there areas that you have seen over the years that are maybe important for the church to wake up to now, Gary, that maybe weren’t issues in the past, or maybe are continual issues that you would say we need to be aware of those issues?

Gary Dull:                     I’ll tell you, Isaac, that’s a great question, because there are a lot of things that the church needs to wake up to, and whether we are talking about race relations, or generation relations, or whatever the case, interpersonal relationships, I mean, I think that in many ways, the church is failing, and maybe it’s because the pastor is failing. You know, I have said this down through the years, that sometimes the greatest problems within the local church are the problems caused by the pastor himself, the way that he speaks, and the way that he deals with people, and so forth.

Gary Dull:                     But this idea of relating to others is very, very important. You talk about bridging the gap; I think that we need to bridge the gap in every relationship, whether we are talking about race or generation or whatever the case. And the Bible does give us a lot of principles on that. You know, one thing I often say to people — and I teach this in my communication series — is that we must seek first to understand, and then we’ll be understood. And, you know, if I’m going to work with you, I need to try to understand you, and when I understand you, then you will probably be more apt to understand me. I kind of think that what’s happening today is that we don’t seek to understand where the other person is coming from, and probably should do that.

Gary Dull:                     But then you’ve got a number of other Biblical principles, and I don’t have time to get into all of them, but Romans 12:18 tells us that we are to seek to live peaceably with all men. Ephesians chapter 5, verses 1 and 2 tells us that we are to seek to practice Biblical love as Christ did. Colossians 4:6 and Ephesians 4:15 tell us that we are to guard our speech and speak the truth in love. 1 Timothy 2:1 says that we are to seek to pray for others. Ephesians 4:31 and 32 tells us that we are to seek to be kind in all of our dealings. And if we were to follow these principles, Isaac, I think that we would be able to see a more effective church in any relationship that we’re dealing with, and we need to wake up to these things.

Isaac Crockett:             Thank you, Gary. I like that; we need to seek first to understand, and then we will be understood. Sam, as Gary was talking about showing that love and seeking other people’s … What’s good for them first, praying for them, if we were to apply that to the political arena, we’ve had your friend and your former colleague Jeff Coleman on this program, he’s been on Stand in the Gap TV as well, and he has a book about returning civility to politics. What are some areas that our civil authorities should be willing to do to, I don’t know if you say reach out across the aisle, or at least to be more considerate of each other and work together?

Sam Rohrer:                 Isaac, there’s a couple things, I think, there. Number one, we, if we look at what’s happening right now, things are driven because of class or group, one group is better than another one, or political, Democratic versus Republican or liberal versus conservative, rather than saying, “Upon what are we united here?” Well, it ought to be our Constitution. It really used to be our common view of God, Judeo-Christian worldview, where we understand that all men are created equal before God.

Sam Rohrer:                 Now, if that’s the mentality, and we understand that the law reflects moral authority, and how God created man equal before Him, and our civil law [inaudible 00:15:55] … If we understand that, then these artificial divisions that we create, these things of superiority, where we think, “I’m better than you because I have more than you have,” or “I have more education than you have,” or “I’m richer than you are,” or “I’m whiter or blacker than you are,” whatever it may be, those things are only dissipated, Isaac, I believe, when we employ and understand and think about life as God thinks about life. You can’t solve it with a law, you can’t solve it with just a lecture. It’s a matter of the heart, and that heart has to be in alignment with what God says, and when that happens, these kinds of things that we see around us have a way of exiting out the back door.

Isaac Crockett:             Well, that’s very helpful. Joe, just asking you a little bit, and I know some of this is repeating what was on the TV program, but could you tell us a little bit about the reconciliation, the reaching out that you’re doing with, for example, the movement, 2019 Movement, here as we go into our break in about a minute?

Joe Green:                   I didn’t hear the whole question, but from what I was gathering, we were talking about the reconciliation piece. We have a couple of different components, and so we do a cultural intelligence and multicultural training that helps … And we’re talking about bridging the gap, so when we talk about culture, we talk about different cultures, whether it’s based on age, whether it’s based on sex, whether it’s based on ethnic differences, and that’s one of the ways that we have to come together to fulfill the Great Commission, which was that all the nations of the world will be blessed.

Joe Green:                   We also, we’re very much pro-life and pro-natural marriage, which is the foundation of our community. We also press a lot for criminal justice reform and human sex trafficking, and all those things deal with personhood, so when we’re talking about the civil rights, we’re talking about a person’s right to simply live a life based on the Constitution, that I can pursue life, liberty, and happiness based on my God-given rights that are inalienable. Once we start to embrace that, as Sam said, it’s very clearly that we have to love our neighbor as ourselves. We look into other cultures and other communities, and we begin to embrace them as Christ embraces us.

Isaac Crockett:             Amen. Now, we started our program talking about some of the Supreme Court decisions that are coming up, particularly the one that just came out in favor of Jack Phillips. But in the Bible, we know that Jesus tells us to love those who don’t love us, and to turn the other cheek, but we also find passages, like in Jude, where we are told to contend for the faith. Or, in Ephesians chapter 5, where Gary was referring to, the beginning of it talks about loving others as Jesus loves us, but then it goes on in the next few verses to talk about being children of light in the dark world, and to actually reprove the evil works of darkness, and to make good use of the time that we have in the evil age in which we live.

Isaac Crockett:             So, Joe, I want to come to you with this kind of difficult task here of balancing those two Biblical principles. In some of your books and articles that you have written, and even in some ways, the reconciliation work that you were describing from the 2019 Movement, that you’ve said some things and you’ve written some things that are very counter-cultural in our day and age. I was wondering if you could share with our listeners some of the cultural areas that you see that we as Christians, as a Christian community, need to maybe be confronting, more willing to stand up and speak out about some of the evils around us, and how we can do that in a loving way, a way that balances also loving our neighbor.

Joe Green:                   Well, yeah, and that’s a great question, and it’s always such a … So many different layers to that. But, you know, one of the things that, even as we’re talking about multicultural and multiethnic relationships, it’s important that we understand that there’s a difference in cultures, and there’s a difference in people, and we as the body of Christ should look to embrace each other in our differences. And when I say “differences,” I don’t mean the things that are against the Bible, but I mean just simply how we express ourselves, and even how we worship sometimes. And so that’s one of the things that we have to be more proactive in as Christians, that we have to reach across ethnic and cultural, and even … We talked about age differences, so the older to the younger and the younger to the older, so we have to reach across those things.

Joe Green:                   We have to be able to attack the culture in those places that go against God’s Word, because God’s Word is meant to give us prosperity, peace, and multi-generational blessing. And so, as I talked about, criminal justice reform and human sex trafficking, these are areas that we as the church have to really attack, because sometimes the only time we get concerned with issues is if it directly affects us, but as the love of Christ is inside of us, we love our neighbors as ourselves, which means even something that doesn’t directly affect me, if it affects my neighbor, I should be concerned with as well.

Isaac Crockett:             Very important there, and so, again, looking at those Biblical principles in a Godly way, that if we truly love our neighbors, if we truly love our community, if we love our country, we’ll stand up for the Word of God, because if we are trying to compromise on the truth, then we don’t have anything to help them with. If we’re covering the light, then we’re not shining the way, and so taking a stand for the truth really is part of loving our neighbor. And so, Sam, Biblically we see that, and even historically in our own country, we see that there are times where, yes, we seek common ground, and there are unfortunately times right now where there’s partisan politics getting in the way of that. But we also know that there are times when we need to be willing to fight for what is right. Can you give us some examples, or maybe some context of situations where we need to be willing to really get involved and contend for what is right?

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, absolutely, Isaac, and I’m going to go off of what Joe just said. We must align on those issues of agreement that are common to us, how? Common to us as citizens of the United States of America. That means those principles that undergird our Constitution, that actually make us a nation. We have to agree on those things, and when we do agree on those things, there is a proper, legitimate unity. When we agree with God’s interpretation of morality, on matters of life or property, those kinds of things, when we agree on those things, then there is unity.

Sam Rohrer:                 So, what do we do on the other side of it? Well, we have to understand that we live in a sinful world, and there are people who frankly don’t want things to do well. There are people, literally, who don’t want us to have freedom. We fought world wars over these issues. The Communists, the Nazis, Islam, who wants us dead now; there are ideologies, and we have to understand, there are ideologies that fundamentally disagree with God, God’s interpretation of morality, God as Creator. There are people and ideologies that fundamentally disagree with the principles of the Constitution because they’re connected to Biblical principles.

Sam Rohrer:                 And I think it’s in there that we have an obligation to speak out, Isaac, when we counter and encounter those who would seek to oppose God’s morality. Abortion, take an example, or all these changing sexual identity efforts. These are opposed to God’s view, not because we just don’t like them. God says certain things about them. And when we have those who say, “We want to undermine your Constitution,” which the Muslim Brotherhood has done, and the Soviet Union of old, the Communists, they have clearly said they want to take this nation down and undermine our Constitution.

Sam Rohrer:                 So when those termites, those enemies, those roaches are there within society, we have an obligation to warn and speak out against them, no less than we would tell our child who’s playing on the driveway not to walk out in that street, lest they get hit by that car. We must inform our people in the pew, citizens generally, of the enemy of our freedom, the enemy of God, and the enemy of our Constitution. Those are the times I think we are most obligated to speak out.

Isaac Crockett:             That’s very helpful, Sam, to remind us that these are actually ways in which, if we love others, if we want to see what’s best for them, then we will contend for the faith, and we will continue to uphold the truth. And, as you said, these fundamental ideas that are part of the Bible and part of our Constitution, a stand must be taken.

Isaac Crockett:             Now, Gary, as a pastor, you’re used to taking some of these difficult issues and simplifying them, making it easy for us to understand, so can you maybe give us some passages or some Biblical principles that can help me and the rest of our listeners know when we should be looking for common ground, and when we need to have our antennas up that something’s happened that we need to stand up for, or even something that we need to confront, some kind of evil that we need to confront? On our program yesterday, Dave was giving examples from Luther and Bonhoeffer and different ones, where they said we need to be standing up more. What might be some helpful hints for us to know when to do that and when not to?

Gary Dull:                     You know, I was just thinking as I was listening to you and Sam and Joe speaking, I think one of the things, particularly as Christians, we need to do is conduct a study of Ephesians chapters 4, 5, and 6. When you go through the book of Ephesians, you find it’s in two divisions. The first three chapters deals with our position in Christ, and the third three chapters speaks of our practice in Jesus Christ. And our practice in Jesus Christ really is very important in these areas that we are talking about on the program today.

Gary Dull:                     For instance, in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 1 and following, it says, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” And then it says this: “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” You know, if we’re to start out with verse 3 first, it’s important that we do all that we can to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and one of the things that that means, Isaac, is that we should always look for common ground. Sam sort of alluded to that. Whenever we are in disagreeable situations, we ought to try to find common ground, common agreement, and build upon that.

Gary Dull:                     But just think about it. In interpersonal relationships, wherever it is, if we practice lowliness and meekness and longsuffering, and would forbear one another in love from the Biblical perspective, just think of what kind of an outcome that would bring. You go to chapter 5 of Ephesians, verse 10 says: “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” I’ve often said that means find out what pleases God, and then do it. Followed up by verse 11 that says, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

Gary Dull:                     In all of our relationships, and in bridging the gaps, certainly we need to know what “thus saith the Lord” is, what the truth of God is all about, and then make certain that we don’t go along with that which is not according to truth, but reprove that which is not according to truth, so that people can understand what the truth of God’s Word is all about. You go on down through Ephesians chapter 5. It says, verse 15, “See that ye walk circumspectly.” Verse 16, “Redeem the time.” There’s a lot in that, Isaac, as to how we should work in interpersonal relationships and so forth.

Isaac Crockett:             Well, welcome back to the program, and on this program, as we go to sum things up, Sam and Gary and I have been talking with our good friend Joe Green about how Christians are to do this difficult … I don’t know if you’d call it a balancing act, but “walking circumspectly” was the verse that Gary referred to. Walking carefully, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, and we do that by contending for the faith, by standing in the gap for truth, and standing up for the truth. But we do it also with a heart for God and a heart for other people, that we don’t see our enemies as some kind of horrible people that we want to beat them, but that we love them and see them as people.

Isaac Crockett:             It reminded me, Sam and Joe and Gary, when you guys were talking about this, and seeing the personhood of others, reminded me of the Nazi regime, of some of the things they used to do. My grandfather lived through that, and they used to dehumanize the Jews and anyone else who stood in their way, and they actually made objects out of people, lampshades out of skin and things like that, to dehumanize their enemies. And so, Sam, you have spent a lot of your life as a civil leader, and many times in politics, we demonize, so to speak, those who disagree with us or try to get in our way. What advice would you have for those in office, and those of us that deal with people in office, when it comes to this balance between seeking to compromise for the sake of getting along, but also taking a stand, contending for the faith, so that we can be light and salt in this dark world?

Sam Rohrer:                 Isaac, we could spend half a program on this, but if I could sum it up, basically I would say this: We want people in office who think like God thinks. Scripture says when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. Freedom, God’s blessing, occurs when right decisions are made, but right decisions as defined by what God says is right. So, it comes from a perspective. If you put a person in office who has a Biblical worldview perspective, his view of what is right or wrong will be as God will want, and that’s where it starts, so if you put somebody in office who is an enemy of freedom, who is a practicing Muslim, as an example, or a Communist, as an example, an atheist, they will act on what they think is right, but it’s not going to be what agrees with Biblical correction.

Sam Rohrer:                 So I say, for those who want to do right Biblically, these are the things you do on this. On matters of truth, never compromise. Now, what do I mean, “matters of truth”? Well, what God’s Word says regarding moral truth, and secondly, what the Constitution says relative to civil law. That’s the truth. On those matters of truth, agree, seek unity, advance a common view, and then defend them. And then, secondly, for a person who understands who God is, if they view their position as a minister of God, Romans 13, where they actually are to praise those who do well Biblically, and to think about those things which are evil Biblically, as Scripture says, and pursue them in that way, and they define them that way, and they view their acting in a role as God, that then is how I find a person in office can actually come down on the right side, on the right side of unity, and on the right side of contending for the truth at the same time, because they do walk hand in hand.

Isaac Crockett:             So it is possible, and it’s necessary, actually, for those things to happen. Joe, what would you say to a listener who … And I’m sure you get this quite a bit, but maybe we have listeners who, as they take a stand for what is right on some of the moral issues that you mentioned, abortion and marriage and these different subjects, and they have friends or family members that push back, and they say, “Hey, you’re a Christian, and Christians are supposed to love everybody, and you’re not supposed to judge them. Remember, ‘judge not, that ye be not judged,'” and they kind of get after us because all they see as Christians is that we’re supposed to just love, and they don’t see that contending for the faith is true love. What would you tell a listener who’s getting that kind of feedback, negative feedback from friends or family members?

Joe Green:                   Well, and you know, we get that all the time, and the first thing is people always take that scripture out of context, and for the sake of time, I’m not going to unravel that, but you know, we as believers … First of all, acceptance and love aren’t necessarily the same thing. I can love someone but not accept their characteristics, their behaviors, their lifestyle choices, and as a Bible-believing, Spirit-filled believer, my job is to share with them the truth of God’s Word and to believe that God’s Word is the best proposition for them, because Jesus didn’t die for us to sin, he died to save us from sin. And so, as we share with the people the real love of Christ, it means that we bring them out of darkness into the light of God’s Word, and to restore them, and to put them on the right path, and that’s the true definition of love, and it is not acceptance, but it means … I accept you as a person, but I don’t necessarily have to accept your choices or your lifestyle, and that’s what love dictates to us.

Isaac Crockett:             Wow, Joe, that is so well put. That really sums this whole thing up, that we are called to love people, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept. In fact, we should never accept what they’re doing wrong; we need to point them in the right direction, and that’s what we have been saved unto righteousness, so that we can sin no more. Well, thank you so much.

Isaac Crockett:             And as we go to wrap things up here, Pastor Gary, what would you say to our listeners here at the end of the program, as we’ve looked at this issue that is so hard to walk the right balance? I mean, I know all of us struggle with striking the right balance. If we’re not careful, we’re not contending for the faith, and we’re not standing up for the truth and confronting evil like Elijah did to King Ahab, or like John the Baptist did to Herod. But if we’re doing that, then sometimes we’re coming across as mean-spirited, and sometimes we are judging our enemies in a style that we shouldn’t. Maybe sometimes, we have something right to say, but the way we say it and things. What would you give advice-wise to our listeners, Gary, here so that they can encourage their pastors and church leaders to take a Biblical stand for God’s truth in this chaotic days, with so many questions? And then also, could you close our program in prayer?

Gary Dull:                     It’s an interesting question, Isaac. What advice would I give to listeners of this program so they can encourage their pastors and church leaders to take a Biblical stand? Don’t you think it should be the other way around? Don’t you think that pastors should live according to 2 Timothy chapter 4, verses 1 through 5, and lead their congregants and lead their community accordingly? And, you know, you go to verse 2 of chapter 4 where it says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine,” and you know, in reality, that sort of summarizes everything that we’ve been talking about throughout this particular program. And I think it’s up to pastors to teach their congregations and to lead their congregations according to that particular principle.

Gary Dull:                     You know, there are nine principles for the pastor to operate under. They’re in 2 Timothy chapter 4, and I think that if we as pastors would operate according to that, a lot of this material we’ve been talking about today in interpersonal relationships, and loving one another, and what acceptance is all about, would fall in line. That’s what we need to pray for.

Isaac Crockett:             Amen. Amen.

 

6-7-18: Confronting the Deception – Being Spiritual Without Being Godly

Sam Rohrer:                 Well according to the latest April 2018 Pew Research Report, just a month or so ago, Americans they say, are very spiritual. The vast majority, 90%, say they believe in some kind of a “higher power.” Now get this. Yet only 56% say they believe in the God of the Bible. A full 33%, almost a full third say that they believe in some other deity or spiritual force, but not God of the Bible. Now research from September of 2017, again of last year, came to a similar remarkable finding that a majority of Americans now say they are spiritual but not religious. Other research says that approximately 70% of millennials say faith is important to them, but not important what faith. Now, do these facts seem contradictory to you, or at least a bit confusing? Frankly, they are. But they tell a remarkable story. Is it possible, ladies and gentleman, that just being spiritual or having faith is the goal to be obtained, or is this kind of thinking deception, and deception of the highest and most dangerous sort? Well, the general theme for today’s program is confronting the deception that being spiritual can be done without being Godly.

Sam Rohrer:                 And with that introduction today I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap today. I’m Sam Rohrer and I’m going to be joined by evangelist, Dave Kistler, and our other cohost, Dr. Gary Dahl is away from us yet today, not feeling back up to full steam yet, he’s home sick. So, and to walk through this critical focus today with us will be our special guest, Dr. Alex McFarland. He’s a speaker, he’s an author, and he’s an advocate for Christian apologetics as well as being the director of a Biblical worldview research institute that he teaches down at Christian Worldview Center of North Greenville University, Greenville, South Carolina. And with that, Alex, I’m glad that you’re with us. You just got off a plane and we were concerned that you weren’t gonna make it here on this live program, but we’re thankful that you’re with us today.

Alex McFarland:            Well, thank you so much. It’s a great honor to be on with you all, and thank you for your patience with me coming through the Washington DC airport.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, we all need patience with Washington DC, and sometimes a little bit more than patience, don’t we Alex?

Alex McFarland:            Well, yes. Well said, well said.

Sam Rohrer:                 I wanna get right into this. We got a lot to do in this program. This is a rather heavy topic from the standpoint of its significance. As a speaker and a Christian apologist you’ve preached in over 1500 churches, you’ve debated in worldview forums, you’ve taught college-level students for many years, and this news, this little bit of research I gave, these top lines, I know it’s not new to you. It’s not new to us on this program either because we’ve talked about some of these things, but I do want to dig a little bit into it because I think the impact could be, and is extraordinary.

Sam Rohrer:                 Let me set it up this way. The book of Second Timothy chapter three, the apostle Paul lays out, he says “Understand,” he says, “in the last days there will come times of difficulty. People will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,” a whole list of things, “reckless, swollen with conceit.” Then it comes down and goes to this part. He said “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” Alex, I gave those top headlines. These research findings I’ve shared align with what you’re seeing and what this verse is saying condition of our nation, and perhaps more particularly the condition of the church in America.

Alex McFarland:            Yeah. You’ve set this up so well, Sam. We are seeing the fruits, really, or the results of a 40-year drift away from Biblical literacy and Biblical authority. The divide between those that know Christ and are committed followers of Jesus and are in the word, they know the son of God, they believe the Word of God, they are a child of God. The divide between those people and the people that are merely religious, they espouse some self-styled spirituality but it’s not really New Testament born again Christianity, the divide is becoming greater and greater, and what I’m about to say might sound kind of old fashioned or anachronistic, but it’s not, it’s really Biblical. We need a revival and we need a move of God’s Holy Spirit that empowers and awakens the church and convicts and draws, and converts the souls of lost people.

Alex McFarland:            Sam, I want to comment on something you said that in the intro you were talking about this spiritual but not religious, people believe in god but not the God of the Bible and you said it was tragic to a monumental degree. It is, because what we’re talking about are the souls of people and people spending eternity separated from Christ, believing that they somehow know God only to leave this world and discover that they were lost. And that should break all of our hearts and motivate us to action.

Sam Rohrer:                 It does Alex, and it should. I tell you, I want to go a little further into this, because when we talk about words such as spiritual, religious, and so forth we’ve gotta define the terms. You know that, I know that. Whoever controls the definition controls the debate. I want to define just a couple of these terms as we begin to move into the program. If you could, this concept that a person can be spiritual without being godly, which is really what they’re saying, define those terms, spiritual and godly, put those two together and then we’ll come back and we’ll begin to get that a little bit more on the next segment.

Alex McFarland:            Great question. Well, spiritual as most pluralistic 21st century Americans understand it really is this amorphous, very nebulous, undefined idea that I’m a pretty good person, and I’m a reflective person. I’m a little introspective and I just appreciate life, and you gotta stop and smell the roses, and you know, I might read the horoscope a few times a month. Spiritual can mean anything, but essentially it means nothing.

Alex McFarland:            Now the Bible tells us though, how we can know that we will go to heaven when we die, and that’s through a born again relationship with Jesus. The word [foreign language 00:06:54] means born from above. We were all born physically. I mean, if you’re a human being you have a birthday, a day that you were physically born, but according to Jesus Christ, to go to heaven you must be born again, born a second time, and that comes through repentance and faith. You repent, you admit, you say “God, I admit that I’m a sinner. I’m sorry for my sins. I’m willing to turn to Jesus and I believe who he is and what he did. He is the Son of God, he died on the cross, and I’m committing my soul to his forgiveness, restoration, and care.” There’s a big difference between spiritual but truly godly in the biblical sense.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well ladies and gentlemen, you’re listening to Stand in the Gap today, Dr. Alex McFarland is our guest, Dave Kistler, our theme, confronting the deception that is that you can actually be spiritual without being godly. With nearly 75% of all Americans claiming to be Christians but only 56% saying they believe in the God of the Bible, we’re clearly in trouble. And according to research from George Barna and The American Culture and Faith Institute, of the 75% who say they’re Christians, less than a third would indicate that they’ve had a relationship with Jesus Christ or that they would be perhaps born again. Now, faith we’re told in several other surveys, Pew Surveys and some others, tell us that it’s more important to have faith, at least that’s the view of the younger generation in particular, than what kind of faith, and as we’ve talked there are those who believe that spirituality is more important than being godly.

Sam Rohrer:                 So either God has changed the terms for redemption and holy living and what it means to be a Christian, or there has been some kind of demonic deception that has overtaken our land as the apostle Paul warned Timothy where he said beware, because there’s gonna be a time when people will come who will pride themselves in being religious and having a form of godliness, but will deny the true power of godliness, in its essence, deny the God of heaven. The implications of this deceptions are really profound. We’re gonna talk more in this segment about this with our special guest, Dr. Alex McFarland. He’s an author, speaker, Christian apologist, and he’s director of Christian World View and Apologetics at the Christian Worldview Center of North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Sam Rohrer:                 Alex, let me go back in here with you now. Before we get further into the cause for the how we got to this level of deception, and I want to do that in the next segment, let’s continue just a little bit more on defining the terms spiritual versus godly, faith versus biblical faith, form of godliness but denying rather the power of that. Take those kind of thoughts together and add to them definitional frameworks for us to understand this discussion as we go into it.

Alex McFarland:            Well, it’s interesting. The Greek word there in second Timothy three for godliness is [foreign language 00:10:02] which means devotion to God, or piety, really holiness. And in the Bible it says in Romans chapter four, when we turn to Christ and are saved, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. This is an absolutely unique teaching of Christianity. One of the things that sets Christianity apart is the idea of Christ’s righteousness imparted, imputed to us. So here’s the difference. A person could be as spiritual in the eyes of the world as one could possibly imagine, I mean maybe you give a little money to charities, and you’re an all around nice person, and you’re introspective, and you meditate, you could be spiritual by any man’s definitions, but if you do not stand before God in the righteousness of Jesus you will not go to heaven.

Alex McFarland:            There’s a passage of scripture, and for those listening I’m gonna quote the Bible and you might say well gee, what’s unique about the Bible? But the Bible is a book shown to be inspired by God by compelling lines of evidence, and I’ve spent 30 years researching, writing, earning, post graduate degrees and teaching on the evidence for the Bible, and maybe that’s a whole nother subject for another show, but the Bible, God’s word, says in Matthew 7:21-24, many will say to Jesus in the judgment day, Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name. We cast out demons. We did many wonderful works. In other words, we used religious language. We could do religious activities, and we even did many benevolent things, and Jesus says, I never knew you.

Alex McFarland:            In other words, going to heaven, being in a right relationship with God and being prepared for eternity is predicated on having a relationship with Jesus and God defines that relationship, not us, not the tides of culture, not Oprah, The View, or the pop voices of our time. God alone defines how we come to him, and he said that we have to be born again, and that has not changed even though we’re in the internet, wired up 21st century.

Sam Rohrer:                 Alex, what you’re doing even on this program is, not just referring to the scriptures, but you’re quoting critical key passages from the scriptures. One of the things that I am watching take place around the country as I travel is a minimization or demeaning of the Bible. In fact, I have heard some millennial-age pastors actually say this. We want to follow the life of Jesus, or we want to follow Jesus Christ, but then they totally demean the scriptures. They demean the Old Testament. They relegate it to a place of being absolutely not the word of God, and then they’ll come into some of the epistles of the New Testament, and they demean those. So what’s happening, Alex, as we move through this culture and we’re talking about faith being the pursuit in and of itself, not the end of our faith, which is a person, Jesus Christ. What’s gonna continue happening if we see this ongoing, increased demeaning of the scriptures which is the foundation of our very faith itself?

Alex McFarland:            Well Sam, I’m glad you bring this up. Everything old is new again. About 80 years ago, [inaudible 00:13:41] century, [inaudible 00:13:43] Schweitzer and a number of other theologians went on what they called the quest for the historical Jesus, and a phrase was going around called the Christ of faith versus the Jesus of history. So this was the idea to them. The Jesus of history may have been one of a myriad of things. Maybe Jesus was just this sage, or some teacher, that he didn’t really claim to be God, and the Christ of faith, the Jesus that I concoct and hold near and dear in my heart can be kind of something I’m more comfortable with, as if the Jesus of history and the Christ that I think I believe in could be two different things. Nowadays that manifests itself. It was [inaudible 00:14:33] modernism and liberalism, higher criticism, in other words we’re going to abandon what the Bible clearly says. Now, the Bible clearly says that Jesus Christ is not merely a good man, he is the God man. Jesus didn’t speak just for the Lord, he spoke as the Lord.

Alex McFarland:            And I want to challenge everyone listening to make sure that the Jesus that you believe in is really the authentic real biblical Jesus because, again, back to the scripture, John eight verse 24, Christ, the Lord Jesus, the only one who ever rose from the dead, Jesus said if you do not believe that I am he, in other words the savior, you will die in your sins.

Alex McFarland:            Alright, so nowadays we’ve got people like Andy Stanley who say that we really don’t need the Old Testament because you know, the Old Testament, oh man it’s so offensive and it’s harsh, and the God of the Old Testament was a pretty bad guy, so let’s just have this loving, kinder, gentler, fuzzy Jesus bunny that we think we find in the New Testament. I get so many people that say, you know, God is not about law and standard, God is about love and tolerance. The fact is, in the quest to never offend anybody, and in the quest to never say or preach anything that the modern world might find offensive, this hypersensitive perpetually offended modern world in which we find ourselves we’ve truncated the scriptures. Let me just say this fellas, it’s been my privilege for a long time to teach apologetics, to speak and debate and do a lot of radio. I love content. I love great authors and quotes, but I have found out that God blesses the proclamation of his word. We’ve done a show for nine years now called Exploring the Word, and we have gone through the Bible in all of it’s clarity and it’s uncanny. We can be teaching through something like the book of Numbers and people will call in and want to pray to receive Jesus and be saved.

Alex McFarland:            I have found, and I’ve had a vivid reminder, and frankly a wakeup call that if you want to see a move of God and the power of the Lord in the lives of people, proclaim, present, stand on the Word, because that is what God has promised to bless.

Sam Rohrer:                 Amen. I tell you Alex, you are so right on with what we’re saying. There is no hope outside the word of God. There is no-

Alex McFarland:            That’s right.

Sam Rohrer:                 -knowledge of truth without God’s word. And you’ve made it very, very clear. Lives are at stake. The failure to understand what we’re talking about is an eternal impact potential, it’s gonna go to heaven or go to hell. And we only have about a minute left here, Alex, but put it in simple terms. Make the application of this. So we’re not only talking about eternal destiny, but this has an impact on our nation. Can we expect to maintain civil freedom here in this country and what we have and come to know, if these principles are removed from our cultures?

Alex McFarland:            Well, Psalm 119:93 says I will never forget your words, for through them I found life. And so it is in the scripture that we find eternal life and the way to Jesus. James three verse one says hey, don’t rush into the ministry because you’re gonna be judged more strictly. Be not many teachers because you’re gonna be scrutinized all the more thoroughly. And so there are going to be a lot of pastors and a lot of clergy that have a lot to answer for before God, who have watered down and twisted, and sanitized the scriptures.

Sam Rohrer:                 And I want to go into that this next segment here as we look at the cause of deception that we have, that people can think these things that I have said, ’cause you know the counter part of truth is deception, and in some respects half truth deception can be more dangerous than baldfaced lies, yet the Bible makes it clear that God is truth, Jesus Christ as God is truth. God’s word which he elevates above even his own name is truth, and it’s clear from scripture that anything or anyone that masquerades as truth but denies that Jesus Christ is Lord, or pretends that there is some other way to heaven and eternal life except through Jesus Christ is a deception and a deceiver. And when it comes to the matter of being godly, believing in a higher power but denying that Jesus is God, or having faith is more important than repenting of personal sin and placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ alone, these are dangerous deceptions, and literally life and death, eternal life and death hinges on them. The question is, how did we get to this point in America? Have we always been here? And obviously the answer is no, we haven’t always been here. This is somewhat new.

Sam Rohrer:                 Alex, if we could Alex McFarland, you travel all over the country, you are a Christian apologist, you’re teaching young people how to think about God’s word and apply it. You look at the research as we do. And according to what Paul told Timothy these are dangerous times, when these kinds of thoughts get here and become a part of our culture. Just a simple term. How did we get here? When did lies become acceptable to believe and truth put on the back burner. Give us your perspective of how we got to where we are Alex.

Alex McFarland:            Oh, great question, great question. By the way, let me say how much I appreciate, Sam, what you all do in the America Pastor’s Network. Folks, I have pastored two churches and spoken in 2000, and I just want to encourage everybody to pray for what Sam and his staff are doing and to support and be involved, and frankly I’m just applauding you. I follow your trajectory, Sam, and The American Pastor’s Network and I’m thrilled that God has raised you up at this time. We ought to do an entire show on how we got where we are, but I mean, several big things happened over the last 200 years out of Germany, it was the rise of German liberalism, and there was a man named Frederick Schweizermacher who wrote a book that basically undermined the Bible as God’s word, and that was very influential in the life of Charles Lyell, an attorney who was an evolutionist, and his writings, principles of geology influenced Darwin.

Alex McFarland:            So follow this. As the 19th century began, the academic world in Europe and America began to flirt with the idea that God was not the communicator of scripture. As the 19th century ended, evolution was becoming firmly ensconced as a philosophy, God is not the creator. By the early 20th century, for the first time post-modernism was used and by the ’40s and ’50s moral relativism was really beginning to shape not only academic classrooms but legal theories, legal philosophy, and we got away from belief in natural law, that there were some moral absolutes. Now this really began to come to fruition in the mid-1960s when Joseph Fletcher wrote a book called Situation Ethics, the New Morality.

Alex McFarland:            Now, meanwhile, follow this. God is not the communicator of scripture, God is not the creator of lies, therefore he will not be the judge. If God is not part of our past he is not part of our future. God is not the ground of moral truth. Now meanwhile you’ve got people like Harry Emerson Fosdick, Norman Vincent Peale, more recently Tony Campolo. Campolo wrote a book about 20 years ago called Why Christianity Must Change or Die. You’ve got people like John Shelby Spong who not only said that we have to craft a new gospel for a new era, but we’ve got to redefine what the Bible says about sexuality. Now we got here, those are some of the enemies of the Gospel that I’ve named, but even at it’s friends, let me say this, 30 years ago when I first became a youth pastor and I would go to the national youth conferences, and the mantra was this, over and over, it’s a sin to bore a kid. This was drilled into we young youth pastors in the late 80s, and what they would say is, pizza, paintball, Pepsi. You know, super soakers, fun, laser tag. Let’s sprinkle in enough Bible to make sure that we placate the personnel committee, but if you want to grow a big youth group, fellas, make it fun.

Alex McFarland:            Well, here we are, listen to this. Churchleaders.com last fall had a study that churchleaders.com said only 45% of people who attend church admit that they read their Bible once a week. One in five church goers say that they have never read, and don’t read their Bible. Now listen to this, of middle school and high school, our youth group kids, 33% do not know that the nativity is part of the Bible, 59% did not know that Jonah and the whale was in the Bible, 27% think that Superman, Harry Potter, and The Hunger Games came from the Bible. You can’t make this stuff up. This is called biblical illiteracy. Now do we love people? Of course. Do we want young people to like church and have a good time, and be drawn? Of course we do. But look. If we do church without Jesus, if we have youth group without scripture we’re just religious and maybe spiritual, but we’re not godly and we’re certainly not fulfilling our Lord’s great commission.

Alex McFarland:            Let me give a quote here. This is old school, but listen to this quote. I gotta get this in before we run out of time. It was a British evangelist back in the 19th century with the Plymouth Brethren, his name was Henry Mackintosh, and he said this. Now folks, listen to this quote. “It has ever been the special design of Satan to lead God’s people away from scripture. The devil will use anything and everything for this, tradition, the church, expediency, popular opinion, reputation, influence, anything and everything Satan will use in order to get the heart and conscience away from that one golden sentence, that divine motto, it is written.” Now we have got to have a restoration, a return, a rediscovery of the pure authoritative word of God. And not only do the souls of people hang in the balance, I frankly think the future of the country and the preservation of the church depend on it. We must get back into the word of God.

Sam Rohrer:                 Alex, let me jump in and ask you this question. By the way, that was outstanding what you just said, but just a little while ago I was reading through first Kings 18, and in first Kings 18 you have the prophets of Baal in the contest on Mount Carmel and you see them exhibiting faith in Baal, which is a deity that does not even really exist, to the point that they get up on top of an altar, they cut themselves with knives and swords after their manner, the scripture says, in other words after their custom. This was not the first time they had gone through this ritualistic experience trying to get the attention of this deity called Baal, but Baal does not exist. And so in this passage you have not just the presence of faith, you have the presence of great faith, but it is faith that is totally misplaced. So I’d love for you to talk a little bit about the fact that it’s not the presence of faith or the size of our faith that’s important, it’s who our faith is in, the person of Jesus Christ, and faith can only come by hearing, and hearing the word of God. That’s why that quote you gave by Mackintosh is so, so critically important. Talk about that for a second if you will.

Alex McFarland:            God bless you! You know, one of the very first debates I ever did at a university, I was at my alma mater, UNC Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and I spoke there about 1996, and I’ll never forget a professor. I had done a presentation on the resurrection of Christ and I said look, here’s the evidence if Jesus rose, I mean if he really rose from the dead, that validates the man and the message, who he is and what he taught. And he taught you must be born again. So professor gets up during the Q&A and during the rebuttal time. I hadn’t thought about this ’til just now Sam, and the professor said, and this is a verbatim quote, “I don’t think it’s important what you believe, as long as you’re sincere. It’s not what you believe, it’s your sincerity.” But you know what, you can be utterly sincere and be lost. There’s an infinite number of ways to go to hell. There’s one way to go to heaven and that’s through Jesus.

Sam Rohrer:                 Oh, Alex, that’s a great statement. Ladies and gentleman, there is one way to heaven, that’s Jesus Christ. There are many ways to eternal destruction, and hell. That’s what we need, and that’s what’s a part of all this deception. There is God’s way, and God’s way works but nothing else. Raising up a generation of Americans who clearly don’t know, or don’t care about the one true God, is, simply put, extraordinarily alarming. But having now a wide majority of Americans who are content to say that they believe in God but won’t connect and don’t connect that belief to true saving faith, or give any evidence of concern for obedience to the commands of God as revealed in the Bible is truly fatal. This condition places America in the profile of nations in end times thinking as the apostle Paul warned second Timothy in second Timothy chapter three I referred to early, where he describes people and times at a point in time where they are perilous. People are prideful, arrogant, self-willed, being spiritual without being godly. Those are the cultural markers that the apostle Paul said would happen. The question is, what’s the solution when this deceptive condition becomes the norm.

Sam Rohrer:                 As we look here with our special guest, Dr. Alex McFarland, Alex, you do a lot with millennial work, and I know that a lot of this research shows kind of like what the older groups are thinking. They tend to have a more accurate view of biblical truth, and the further away you get from that, the younger you get, it seems they walk away from that. I know that you have commented when you wrote for Fox News some time ago you described several reasons why millennials and the younger generations, those under them in particular are moving away from God and moving away from Christianity into this realm of deception that we’ve talked about on this program. I’d like for you to take just a couple of these reasons that you’ve given, if you could identify them and turn them around into solutions perhaps for our current condition. Let me take the first one that you had said, you referred to the breakdown of the family as a cause for why millennials and the next generation are moving away from God. Identify that and then turn that around into a solution if you could.

Alex McFarland:            Oh wow, well thanks very much. Let me say this Sam, very briefly. Our Truth for a New Generation app and tour of events we bring together people like Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel and oh my goodness, so many great speakers, Ravi Zacharias, James Dobson, I mean we work with all of them. We’re going to be in Murfreesboro, Tennessee September 13, 14, and 15 I will be doing a debate at Middle Tennessee State University. By the way, if anyone listening is in the Murfreesboro, Tennessee area I will be speaking at a luncheon next Wednesday, May 30, about the big fall TNG Apologetics Worldview event, and we’ll be in Baton Rouge October 26, 27, Greenwell Springs Baptist, and some 22 cities over the next five years.

Alex McFarland:            So I would encourage people, if you care about the truth for the next generation, literally that’s the name of our event, come see us. We have seen apologetics change a lot of lives. Back to your question Sam, where is the opportunity in all this? The opportunity is that human nature hasn’t changed. Despite all of the spin and all the nuancing and all the historical revisionism and all of the, just the white noise of our information-rich culture people still want all these things that humans are made to seek after. Acceptance, significance, security, meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and those are found in two places. Number one, a relationship with the savior, and number two, in family, marriage and family.

Alex McFarland:            Sam, I believe the second greatest gift God ever gave the human race, right behind Jesus, is family. What I’m finding in young people, and we do camps, we do so many things. Young people are hungry for truth. They have an openness and a willingness, and frankly a passion to embrace truth when it’s presented, so we’ve got to proclaim truth and they will receive it, but also so many young people, maybe 65% to 68% of the youth today will never live under the same roof with both their biological mom and dad at the same time, and they’ve never lived in a culture where family was really championed, and portrayed in a positive light, and maybe they’ve got negative family experiences of their own, and yet they know that they want a marriage and a family that is that stable, emotionally solid context to live and thrive as a human being. So we’ve got the church and the home, and if we want to not only touch lives, fulfill our lord’s commission, but frankly save our nation, I want to challenge everyone listening, become a champion for the family and a champion for the church, the local church.

Alex McFarland:            Therein is the answer. This is not rocket science, it’s not complicated. Taking God’s word for what it says, [foreign language 00:34:03] take the word of God as written in its entirety and then apply it to our lives, build relationships, share truth, and build a godly family. By the way, Psychology Today, Harvard University, studies show that if you want to be not only emotionally happy, physically healthy, but very likely financial prosperous, what’s the pathway to those and happiness, health, prosperity? The family. Get married, stay married, have kids. It’s the family. Let me say, google Psychology Today, the archives of 2012, there’s a compelling article from UC Riverside that talks about married people who get … And we’re talking about heterosexual monogamy here, in other words, true marriage, not only will you live longer, you’ll be healthier, you’ll be happier, you’re much more statistically much more likely to be financially successful. The family to so many things is the answer.

Sam Rohrer:                 Alex, let me ask this very, very quickly. We have just about a minute and a half to let you answer this, but one of the things you cited with respect to why the younger generation is not following Christ and not really doing well is lack of authenticity among adults, whether it be parents, grandparents. Can you talk about what grandparents, parents can do to be authentic. Maybe that should be a no-brainer, but just comment on that if you could please.

Alex McFarland:            Well, study after study shows that young people are looking for adult role models that are real. And you know what, I’m 54 years old, I look like the mayor of dull, and yet I speak to over 100,000 teens a year on average. They are not looking for somebody that’s hip and cool or trendy. They’re looking for somebody who legitimately cares about them and is willing to listen, and build a relationship, and this takes time. I know it’s kind of chic right now to bash on millennials, and there’s a whole lot of … You know I saw a meme the other day that said an auto antitheft device for millennials, and it was a stick shift, because you know, millennials supposedly can’t drive a manual transmission. Well hey, look. Let’s not bash on millennials, let’s build relationships with them, and let’s build the trust and earn the right to be heard, and in that context of trust, honesty, respect, we can share truth. And then you can bring them to the next TNG event, Truth for a New Generation.com when it comes to your town.

 

Sharing Faith Increasingly ‘Optional’ for Christians

What is “optional” for Christians? Church attendance, going to Bible studies, tithing, giving to charity? As it turns out, many Christians say it’s becoming increasingly “optional” to share their faith in Christ with others.

This is the finding of a new survey from social science researcher George Barna, who is a friend of the American Pastors Network, and frequent guest on its popular daily radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today.”

“Our world has changed,” said APN President and “Stand in the Gap” radio and TV host Sam Rohrer. “Decades ago, sitting with our friends, family members, neighbors and fellow believers, often talking about our faith in God, was commonplace. Today, with how technology has drastically changed the way we interact, those conversations don’t happen nearly as much. How does this impact our faith—and the potential saving faith for others? Our good friend George Barna explores this question and gives insight on Christians feels about sharing our belief in and reliance upon Jesus.”

In 1993, Barna partnered with Lutheran Hour Ministries to research reasons why people did and did not engage in intentional outreach. Much has changed since that initial study, so 25 years later researchers asked follow-up questions to see if talk of faith has become labored in a culture that is more digital, secular and contested than ever. The results are contained in Barna’s new report Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age.

“When was the last time you had a conversation about God?” Barna wrote to introduce the follow-up study. “For most people, the unfortunate and surprising answer to that question is not very often. Spiritual conversations are exceedingly rare for most Americans, and even for Christians, who are at best reluctant to have them.”

Barna’s research found that a growing number of Christians don’t see sharing the Good News as a personal responsibility. Just 10 percent of Christians in 1993 agreed with the statement “converting people to Christianity is the job of the local church”—as opposed to the job of an individual. Today, nearly three in 10 Christians (29 percent) say evangelism is the local church’s responsibility—a threefold increase. This jump could be the result of many factors, Barna reported, including poor ecclesiology (believing “the local church” is somehow separate from the people who are a part of it) or personal and cultural barriers to sharing faith.

An even more dramatic divergence occurred on this statement: “Every Christian has a responsibility to share their faith.” In 1993, nine out of 10 Christians (89 percent) agreed, but today, just two-thirds say the same (64 percent)—a 25-point drop.

Barna will be the featured guest again on “Stand in the Gap Today” on June 7, when he will discuss the newest research. “Stand in the Gap Today” is heard daily on 425 stations around the country, as well as live online from noon to 1 p.m. EST at American Pastors Network.com at the orange “Listen Live” button on the right-hand side of the webpage, or find a station here.

5-15-18: Blue Lives Matter – The Biblical role of Police Officers

Dave Kistler:                 Well according to law enforcement’s official statistics, there were 116 officers killed in what is called Line of Duty related accidents or incidents in 2016. In 2017, there were 135 officers that were killed in line of duty deaths, and thus far in 2018, there have been 53. Well I think you would agree with me that without doubt, serving as a law enforcement official is one of the most dangerous professions possible.

Dave Kistler:                 However, for the law enforcement officials that I know, and I do know many of them, this is not a profession, it is a calling. Now I’m not saying that there aren’t bad police officers out there, just like I’m not saying there aren’t bad ministers out there, because there definitely are bad eggs in both realms. It’s just that with law enforcement, I’ve personally not met any of the bad ones.

Dave Kistler:                 Well, with that I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap today. I’m Dave Kistler and I’m joined today by Gary Dull and our special returning guest, Keith Davidson of Seedline International in Brazil, Indiana. Of course, if you’re a regular listener to this program, you know that Seedline is a Bible printing and Bible distribution ministry. Keith is with us today to help talk about this topic, honor to whom honor is due. I know of no group more worthy of honor than the men and women of law enforcement. It’s beyond fitting that we delve into this discussion because of what is occurring in Washington D.C. this week.

Dave Kistler:                 It’s law enforcement week, or also sometimes called National Police Week. Keith has just returned from a portion of that week and he’s here to tell us some of what’s been going on there, as well as assisting us and bestowing what we believe is going to be appropriate honor on those who deserve it the most. Keith, I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap today, my friend, thank you for joining us today.

Keith Davidson:            It’s great to be here. Thank you.

Dave Kistler:                 Well, Keith, you just returned within the last several days from Law Enforcement Week or National Police Week as it’s called, and there’s a lot of things that are yet to take place over the course of this week up in Washington D.C. at the Law Enforcement Memorial and throughout the city. In fact, even as I’m talking to you, our president has just concluded an address at the National Law Enforcement Memorial service, the vice president is also in attendance. Leaders in the house and Senate are there as well, but Keith, you were there over the weekend and what you got to see was quite stunning.

Dave Kistler:                 What I’d love for you to do is just share with our listeners a little bit about what Law Enforcement Week is, and then if you could quickly talk a little bit about some of the incredible open doors of ministry that God has opened up for us there.

Keith Davidson:            Absolutely. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, is what it’s called, is at the center of, well the 400 block and East street in Washington D.C. Probably one of the most best kept secrets I suppose. I didn’t even know about it until a couple of years ago. But it’s one of the nations monuments to law enforcement officers who’ve died in the line of duty and it was dedicated in October the 15th 1991 and I’m surprised that long a time is not more publicized, but the memorial honors federal, state and local enforcement officers who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our nation and it’s people.

Keith Davidson:            It’s a huge opportunity for us to share in ministry while we do that. The memorial, by the way, features two curved 300 foot long blue-gray marble walls and carved on these walls are the names of more than 21,000 officers who’ve been killed in the line of duty throughout US history. I believe they date it all the way back to the first known death that they have on record was 1791 and unlike many memorials in D.C., the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is ever changing and the sad part is, there’s new names applied every year. We attended the candlelight visual as well, that was Sunday evening, and each year they read off the names of those who were killed in line of duty the previous year. It’s a very sombering event, very heart breaking as well.

Keith Davidson:            I had some other things to share with you about that, hopefully in another segment we have today, but one thing that takes place with that, is also, I want you to know on the monument itself, it says, “It is not how these officers died that make them hero’s, it’s how they lived.” Another is “In valor, there is hope.” Then there’s Proverbs 28:1, said, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” If you see the memorial, and I encourage everyone to come and see that, there are lions displayed there, carvings and so forth, and there’s little statues of them, and that’s the reason why, because of what the scripture says.

Keith Davidson:            Then, president George H.W. Bush said, “Carved on these walls is the story of America, of a continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency and to protect the national treasure that we call the American Dream.” It’s just a huge blessing, a huge honor, probably one of the most neglected things in our country.

Gary Dull:                     Well you know, I would agree with that Keith, that it’s one of the most neglected things in our country and particularly today, what we find that there’s so many people that have a negative attitude towards law enforcement officers, which is really sad. I mean, it should not be that way at all, because all so often, those who have a negative attitude towards law enforcement officers are the ones who call them first when they’re needed.

Gary Dull:                     Sort of an oxymoron there, and I’m very, very thankful that this memorial is there in Washington D.C. I’ve been unaware of it. Can you once again, just give the location of that, because I’m certain that this summer there will be many going to D.C. and it would be good for them to stop by and see that. Where is it again Keith?

Keith Davidson:            It’s located between 4th and 7th street. It’s actually on the 400 block of East Street and Northwest. There [crosstalk 00:05:54]-

Gary Dull:                     Northwest

Keith Davidson:            If you’re looking from Capitol, yes. If you’re looking down the mall from the capitol building, it’s going to be on your right. It’s pretty easy to find. If you go up 4th Street or get to 4th Street, you’ll be able to find it very easily.

Gary Dull:                     Now, you are involved with the Law Enforcement Week, how did this originally open up as an opportunity for ministry to you?

Keith Davidson:            Well, of course, Seedline, we’re always interested in opportunities to give out the word of God and especially in a place that they can make a difference. We became aware of the memorial and some of our trips in the Bible Reading Marathon, discovering what was in D.C. I had a police officer who was a friend who asked me if I had ever been to the memorial, and I said, “Absolutely not, I’d love to go,” so we were able to make the trip down. As we were standing there, I thought, boy, you know we could be a part of this and give out the Word of God here and make a specialized cover.

Keith Davidson:            John and Romans, especially Romans talks about the responsibility of officers and those that are watching over us, but we made a contact with the memorial, and they proofed our John and Romans cover. Actually we have become part of the event. They’ve allowed us to use their logo on the cover, not in a large size of course, but it does tie us to that. What I found that most of the folks who are involved in that are Christians brother Gary, they really are concerned about that, and of course a memorial, is dealing with life and death and so forth, so there are spiritual questions, so it’s just a huge blessing that we’ve been a part of that and it’s been a huge experience.

Keith Davidson:            One of the things that really helped us, there are families who are people, it’s not just about the stones, but they bus in families, survivors from all over the country and on that wall, their names are engraved. You can take a piece of paper and take a pencil and rub across that and get their name on paper. It’s just a pretty awesome place.

Gary Dull:                     Amen.

Dave Kistler:                 Well, ladies and gentlemen, you’re listening to Keith Davidson of Seedline international. We’re talking about this theme today, honor to whom honor is due. That is a phrase of course taken from the Sacred Scriptures itself, and there’s no group that’s more worthy of honor than those that serve in blue, the men and women of law enforcement.

Dave Kistler:                 Well have you seen this video? It’s a viral video of a wife who has just found out she’s expecting and she wanted a creative way to tell her husband. What she decided to do was contact the local law enforcement and have them pulled, both she and her husband over as they were driving home. Well, gladly the local police complied, but what I haven’t told you yet is this, the husband and the couple is black, and the officer that pulls them over is white.

Dave Kistler:                 When he arrives at the window of the car, he tells the husband he’s been pulled over because they have a child in the car that is not in a car seat. Of course, as the husband very gently protests there’s no child in this car, the wife from her cellphone camera is videoing all of this and she holds up in front of the camera where everybody watching can see, a pregnancy test that is positive, and then the officer says, “Yes you do have a child in the car that’s not in a child seat,” and he points across to his wife, and you see the man look at the pregnancy test and see the positive result, you see the excitement on his face and then you see the white officer lean through the window and very warmly and affectionately, pat the shoulder of the new father and of the husband, and it is a moving, moving video.

Dave Kistler:                 The first time I saw it, which was a couple of months ago, I was stirred and I thought, “You know, that’s the law enforcement community that I know,” and again friends, it’s not that I’ve not been pulled over before by a police officer, I have, I’ve logged somewhere in the neighborhood of over the last 34 years, of about 50 to 80,000 miles a year, so I log a lot of miles. Yes, I have been pulled over for exceeding the speed limit on occasion, but friends, my experiences have not been in any way negative.

Dave Kistler:                 Every person I’ve ever met associated with law enforcement has been a person of integrity, has been a person of great quality of life, and I’ve just not had a bad experience. Again, I’m not saying there’s not bad officers out there, but the fact is I have not met any of them.

Dave Kistler:                 Keith, I know you just returned, as we talked about in the segment one, from a weekend of incredible ministry to these absolutely awesome men and women in blue, and at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in D.C., something really powerful happened on Saturday. You sent the video or notified me of, where I could watch the video. Just a little bit ago I watched it. It’s absolutely an amazing thing. Talk a little bit about what the South Carolina Sheriff’s Office Drill Team from Spartanburg, South Carolina, talk about what they did on Saturday, it’s absolutely stunning.

Keith Davidson:            Yes. Absolutely. Of course, I’m reminded Lamentations 3:51 says, “Mine eye affecteth mine heart,” and my heart was really affected Saturday. You know, we go up to these things, a lot of them are government sponsored, this rule and that rule, so you’re concerned about being there and are you crossing the line or going to cause problems? But this drill team from Spartanburg, South Carolina started their program, and I was just blown away, because they are … It’s a color guard drill team from Spartanburg, South Carolina and they honored Christ.

Keith Davidson:            They sang, had the music and song of Beulah Land. It is well with my soul, and all these things were going on and I’m like, am I really hearing this on the National Memorial Site. It was just amazing. They honored Christ in everything they did, in music, their words that they spoke, they did the Lord’s Prayer, they actually had a thing with the tomb where the stone was pulled back and He is alive, and they talked about when we all get to heaven they’ll not be any need for police officers, they’ll be no more tears, no more crime, and all those kind of things. I was just blown away. I’m like, Am I really hearing what’s going on, and symbolism was huge as well.

Dave Kistler:                 Keith, when I … watched it, yeah. What was amazing was they actually presented the Gospel in music as well as the gentleman standing behind the podium, speaking in the microphone, explaining all the various aspects of sometimes the police officers uniform, that what the gloves represent, what the police officer’s sword represents, they presented the Gospel.

Keith Davidson:            Amen. I would suggest to anyone listening today to go to their Facebook site and you can … Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Rifle Drill Team and you can click on video’s and you can see the very video that they just played on Saturday and it’ll just … it’s only about 20 minutes, but it’d be the best 20 minutes of your day if you’ll watch that.

Gary Dull:                     Keith, I support the police and law enforcement officers, and of course you realize and so does brother Dave, that we have a little card that we’ve put together that we give out to the police, and I’ve been known to stop police along the highway and give them that card that has in there, John 3:16 and Joshua 1:8, and then on the other side, it has a phone number where the police can call for prayer request.

Gary Dull:                     Then recently when I was in North Carolina traveling, I got pulled over, I was fifth out of five cars and just got pulled over I guess, because I was the last one, and after the policeman wrote me up, nice, I asked him if I could pray with him, and he said, “No, I don’t pray alongside of the road,” I said, “Well, if you would have been praying, I might not have gotten this ticket, because you wouldn’t have seen me.” He chuckled at that, but I gave him that card.

Gary Dull:                     You know, anytime I’ve been stopped, I thanked them for doing their job, because that’s exactly what they are doing, and I appreciate that, but there seems to be an openness now among the police community, particularly there in Washington D.C. and based upon what you’ve been describing. My question is there to ask you Keith, is there something unique taking place in Washington D.C. right now that really has created this open door that’s going on, particularly to the proclamation and the openness of the Gospel?

Keith Davidson:            I think so brother Gary. I think one thing we as Christians have to come more aware of our protectors and our responsibilities to them. I think it’s been a closed community for quite some time. They kind of look between us and them, and I think we’ve been a little bit afraid of them as well, because they can give us tickets.

Keith Davidson:            I think there’s an openness to the Gospel, because we’re showing the love of Christ. If you want someone to know you care about them, you show that you love them, and I think we’re able to show that and when we give out the John and Romans with their information on it, it’s for them, to them, and same thing with the things that you give out, honoring police officers in the church service, telling them thank you, buying their meals, various things that we can do, but I believe we’re giving honor to whom honor is due. Of course, we’re told that in revelation 13 about that. I think we recognize our faith based nation and without protection they have, we wouldn’t have the absolute freedom to proclaim the Gospel or the protection for that.

Keith Davidson:            When we do the Bible Reading Marathon, we have Capital police all around us. The safest place in the world, I had folks ask me, “Do you feel unsafe in D.C?” I said, “Absolutely not, I can just lay down somewhere and take a nap, it wouldn’t bother me a bit to do that.”

Gary Dull:                     Right.

Keith Davidson:            I think they’re recognizing the power of prayer, and the presence of God’s people, we need to stand up. When your life is on the line, or you come and face your own mortality, faith becomes real, and I think they seek out folks who are of genuine faith and who are genuinely concerned for them and pray for them.

Gary Dull:                     You know, I think that’s important to take into consideration, because when they get up to go to work in the morning, they never know if they’re coming home at night. Just one case in point, no, no, you go back to David, but every so often, we have special services at the church that I pastor to honor the police, and this year, we had more police than we have ever had.

Keith Davidson:            Amen.

Gary Dull:                     I will make this type of a statement that when these men or women get up to go to work in the morning, they never know if they’ll get home at night, because they never know when they are going to be called to some type of an emergency. Well, wouldn’t you know it, if halfway through the service, some emergency came into our city, and half of the group had to get up and leave. They didn’t do it all at once. There were two, then there were four, then there were three, whatever. As they were called out, they went. As it turned out, it ended up there was quite a situation going on in town, and some of those policemen who were in church that morning, got whipped and beat up at that situation. So you know, I said to the congregation, this is living proof why we need to pray for these fellows, because they’d never know when they are going to be in harms way in one way, shape or form.

Dave Kistler:                 You know, Gary, you ask a very intriguing question of Keith, and that is, is there something that has precipitated this openness in Washington D.C.? I would say even around the nation on the part of law enforcement to the Gospel, to the truth of the Word of God, and Keith answered it very, very well. They’ve always been a God honoring group, I mean, that’s what I’ve seen in all of them, but I think the last eight years of demeaning of law enforcement by the Barack Obama Administration, really, really, set everything on edge in the United States of America.

Dave Kistler:                 This maximizing of situations caught on video, where officers may or may not have done the wrong thing, we don’t know the entire scenario, we’re just watching a snippet of it on a video, but now we have a president in office who is going out of his way to recognize and honor those that serve in blue as well as those that serve in all branches of the military. I think Gary, that is really creating a situation where law enforcement is deeply appreciative of anyone who’s appreciative of them, and I don’t think anyone is more thankful than the Christian community.

Gary Dull:                     I think that’s right. You brought something up and of course, we know that under Barack Obama it just seemed like the thumbs were down on the police community. Have either of you sensed, Dave or Keith, that now that Donald Trump is in the White House, that there has been an ease on this pressure that’s been on the police nationwide?

Dave Kistler:                 Gary, let me answer that, and the answer is an unequivocal yes. In fact, if you had seen the president when he was introduced just about 45 minutes ago, at the National Law Enforcement Memorial Service, and you saw the response he got, the man who introduced him did it with more energy than I’ve just about ever seen an introduction given. It was obvious that the law enforcement community loves this president, because he loves them, and then the response from the part of the people there was equally over the top. I think you’re hitting on something. One of the greatest opportunities I’ve ever had as a preacher of the Gospel was something that occurred a couple of years ago in a major American city where I was asked to address a law enforcement service honoring those who had been recently killed in the line of duty.

Dave Kistler:                 Let me back up a little bit and explain something that led up to that. Right after the 2001 9/11 attacks, there was a woman in Pennsylvania, or excuse me, actually she lived in New Jersey, who came up to me after a service, and she handed me a pin that had the number 37 on it. The number 37 was on a shield, a law enforcement shield, and then behind the shield with the number 37 in the background, you can see the twin towers, and this mother explained to me that this pin was given to her in honor of her son, who was one of the 37 Port Authority police officers killed on 9/11 in the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers.

Dave Kistler:                 What she said to me is this, she said, “I’m going to give you this pin.” I said, “Why would you want to do that?” She said, because you’re going to be going to Washington D.C., you’re going to be speaking in a crusade effort up there, which I was to do just a few months after this conversation I was having with this dear mother. I said, “No ma’am, I’m not going to take that,” she said, “Oh yes you are, but here’s the conditions. I want you to use this pin to tell my son’s story.” She proceeded to tell me how her son loved the United States of America. He was an incredible patriot, but eclipsing his patriotism was his love for Jesus Christ.

Dave Kistler:                 She told me a little bit of his personal testimony, how he came to faith in the Lord. She said, “I’m going to give you this and if you can use it in any way to tell my son’s story, I want you to do that.” Well, little did she know, not only did I have the occasion to tell her son’s story in Washington D.C. one afternoon, but now I’m in a major American city invited to speak at a law enforcement memorial service, honoring those who’ve been killed in the line of duty, and I happen to have that pin with me, and I remember wondering, why do I feel compelled this pin?

Dave Kistler:                 But I took it, and when I got to the memorial and realized all that was going to take place there, I realized why God prompted me to take the pin, because in this particular city, not only do they have a law enforcement memorial for those that have been killed in that particular community, but they also have a section of their memorial dedicated to the 37 Port Authority police officers who died on 9/11 in New York City.

Dave Kistler:                 I realized, Lord, this is why you wanted me to bring the pin. I held the pin up and said, “Today, I’m going to fulfill a promise I made to a mother. A mother of one of your own. I told the story of this Port Authority police officer, about his love of country, his love of Christ, his commitment to serve in law enforcement, viewing it not as a profession, but as a calling indeed.

Dave Kistler:                 It was amazing gentlemen, how everyone there, especially the families of those that had fallen, listened with absolutely rapt attention to the point that the police chief in that large community, came up to me afterwards, he said, “Dave, I learned something today. I’ve learned that we who knows Christ as Savior, can share the Gospel and should share the Gospel in situations like this. There’s a way to do it, there’s a way not to do it,” and he said, “I think I learned today the way to do it.” It was an awesome experience.

Dave Kistler:                 The reason I’m telling that story is, Gary, those who serve in law enforcement, do so not just because they have a desire to protect us, the American people, but according to Romans 13, they have a biblical mandate. In fact, they are called something very specific and very special in Romans 13 and I’d love for you to share with our listeners what that is.

Gary Dull:                     Well, David they’re called the ministers of God. In fact, I’ll just read the verse of Scripture. It’s Romans 13:4 where it’s talking about those who are in government and of course, the police really, they are a part of the government. It says this, “He is the minister of God to thee for good, But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

Gary Dull:                     Now, what we see in there is the fact that God has given to the police officer, a commission, and that is to be God’s minister to support that which is good, and as I’ve often said, to be a terror to evil, because you go back to verse three, it says, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” Again, talking about those who are in government. Of course that does apply to the police officers.

Gary Dull:                     When a police officer is out there on the streets of the city, or out in the country side fulfilling his or her duty and responsibility, he’s doing it as under God’s direction. I think it’s very important for those of us who are parents and otherwise, to take every opportunity that we can to teach our children, to teach children in general, why police are there. You know, Dave, when I was growing up, there was a great respect for the police officers. It seems like there’s been a period of time when that respect has been lost. I think that those of us who are Christians, based upon what it teaches us here in Romans 13, should do everything that we possibly can to remind children and others of the significance of the police officer, why the police officer is there and to support that police officer and pray for him and her.

Gary Dull:                     Dave, this is not only the case here in the United States of America. When I was over in Kenya just a couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a delegation of the Nairobi police. It’s interesting how many of those individuals knew the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and when I shared with them the Word of God and prayed with them, some of them were in tears, because whether it’s here in the states or over in Africa, or Europe, every police officer has the same responsibility to stand for God, for good.

Gary Dull:                     We need to pray for them, we need to support them, we need to encourage them. I think God’s going to be honored by that type of action.

Dave Kistler:                 Gary, I couldn’t agree more and that admonition was one that was very well made. It matters not the name of the country, it matters not the geographical location, it matters not the color of the skin of the officer. What matters is they are a representative of God, for good, as Romans 13 says. That places a heavy burden on them to understand their responsibility, but it also places a heavy responsibility on us, the recipients of what they do, the beneficiaries of what they do to show the appropriate respect.

Dave Kistler:                 Keith, I know having been in Washington D.C. being a part of this National Law Enforcement week, or National Police Week, as it’s sometimes colloquially called, you have heard some phenomenal stories, you have met some incredible people. Is there anything that stands out to you? Maybe some story you’ve heard? Some person you’ve met? Some act of heroism committed that you can share with our listeners today, that would kind of underscore for us how much we need to respect, and revere those who serve in law enforcement.

Keith Davidson:            Yes sir. Dave, Gary, we’ve heard a lot of different things. One that’s just on my heart, it’s not necessarily the officer himself, but the father of the officer that we sometimes forget about. Pastor Bob was there, of course part of our goal was to pray with families and so forth. He met a father and asked him about, did he lose someone in his family? He really, strongly and bitterly said, “I lost my son,” he said, “And the gentleman that took his life was a 15 year old boy,” and he said, “You know, if I had 15 minutes in a room with him, I would straighten that out.”

Keith Davidson:            Of course, brother Bob took him to Romans 12:19 where it talks about the Lord says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay ye, saith the Lord.” He was carrying that, harboring that in his heart, that he almost couldn’t breathe, and couldn’t live, and pastor Bob shared with him about that God is in control of these things, and that he could turn that over to God and let God take care of that. The man began to weep, not cry, but just weep there in front of him.

Keith Davidson:            There’s an element that happens outside of that police officer themselves, as we see as hero’s, which they absolutely are, but there’s a family support unit behind that, that really is also paying that ultimate price. That’s one of the things that stuck in my heart.

Keith Davidson:            Then we met a young lady who is now in college who lost her father about five years ago, and her and her mother and sisters were putting together and made thank you flowers, little cards out of some type of paper and they were going all along the crowd. Now this was the candlelight vigil that we were part of Sunday night, and going to hundreds of officers and people and saying, “Thank you for your service and for your sacrifice.” She would have had the opportunity to be well to be bitter, but by her Christian faith, she was thanking them even though her loss she had experienced was just huge.

Keith Davidson:            Those two things really made an impact. Then a couple we found, an officer in Spokane, Washington. A lady’s car hit a bump in the road and vehicle suffered some mechanical meltdowns and stuff. It was a problem and then she was in the front seat, the car burst into flames, she climbed in the back, the officer arrived on the scene and just went … poured it all in. Tim was his name and from the Spokane Police Department. He had his baton in hand and he was beating on the rear window to get her out and barely just got her out in the nick of time. She was just elated by that. She said, just God bless him, he didn’t give up.

Keith Davidson:            I think that’s a story of many of our officers, they just don’t give up. They have a calling. As brother Gary mentioned earlier, to accomplish some great things. Ministers of God.

Dave Kistler:                 Gary, you know what Keith has just shared is not just moving, but it is [inaudible 00:29:06] of the fact that this is a community that needs not just our thanks, but they need our ministry. Gary, you’re a preacher of the Gospel, you’ve had opportunities to minister on many occasions. Not just honoring those in the church services, not just recognizing them and expressing appreciation, but on a one on one level to minister to the hurting. Talk about that just for a second before we have to end this segment.

Gary Dull:                     Well Dave, I think that that’s very significant that we do what we can to reach out to them and minister to them. There is one fellow who I know, who is a state policeman here in Pennsylvania. I pray for him every day and every time I see him or his wife, I remind them that every day they’re in my prayers. I think that we must do that, because you know, a good officer of the law does never give up, even if it means to die. They need our support and prayer and encouragement.

Dave Kistler:                 Well gentlemen, I want to go here in this final segment. We often call this our solution segment, so I want to talk about some specific things we can do that’s in line with our topic today, “Honor to whom Honor is Due.” How can we show appropriate fitting honor, respect for the men and women in law enforcement that have taken such a hit over the last eight years? I thank God it is changing, and has changed to a sizable degree under this administration, but what are some things that we the American public can do to honor those that serve in law enforcement. May I start by suggesting this, and I’m not always able to do it, but down through the years when I’ve been financially able, I have tried to do it both with men and women, and military uniform as well as those that serve in law enforcement.

Dave Kistler:                 That is if I’m eating out at a restaurant, and I see a police officer, or a group of police officers, or men and women that are serving in some branch of the United States military, if I can do it, I’ll say to the waitress, or to the waiter, just give me their bill, their ticket, and just tell them it’s from a grateful American.

Dave Kistler:                 Could I encourage you to do something like that as you have occasion to do so, just to let those in law enforcement that you greatly appreciate them. Then if I have a Gospel booklet like the ones brother Keith produces. If I see a group sitting maybe in a restaurant somewhere, I’ll walk over and hand them a military booklet or a police officer booklet, say, “I just want to thank you for what you do and serving our country, and serving us the American people, keeping us safe. Your commitment to your calling, not just a profession, but to your calling, and it is always very, very, well received.”

Dave Kistler:                 Keith, let me go to you. Give us and give our listeners maybe some suggestions, very practical ways they could show honor and respect to those that are service and law enforcement.

Keith Davidson:            Yes Dave, and what you just suggested is a huge, huge blessing to them. I think one of the things we do especially is if you see an officer, security guard, it doesn’t matter who, a federal agent, anyone that you see, border patrol, making an effort to get to them, and shake their hand and say, “Thank you for what you do.” That really encourages them. They feel so much negativity, but if we go up and shake their hands and give them a track or give them a Scripture, or as brother Gary suggested earlier, he should have prayed before he got his ticket, but if you pray-

Gary Dull:                     I did. It didn’t work.

Keith Davidson:            … there you go. Ask them is there something they can pray with you about. Another thing I like to do is when you see an officer with their family, thank the wife and their children as well, because it’s a family unit that’s actually in that service. One other thing that brought that to mind with me during this candlelight vigil was seeing all the families and hearing some of the stories, but we also had some men from London, we had some from Switzerland, met an officer from Brazil, South America who came over for this memorial service. Of course, it’s a national thing for us, but they look to America as leadership, so I think if we can portray Christ to them, through our law enforcement to our law enforcement, we can be a blessing to them, but just slip them a note, shaking hands, or you catch them out.

Keith Davidson:            Now you have to walk up cautiously, because they’re always suspicious, but look them in the eye, smile, and say, “I appreciate what you do, I’m praying for you, is there anything I can pray about?” Just be an encouragement I think is a great thing.

Dave Kistler:                 You know one of the things that I notice that my son Nathan does on Capital Hill, every time he walks in the Capital building, every time he walks in the Supreme court, every time he encounters an officer, Capital Hill police officer, D.C. Metro police officer, he always takes a few seconds to say, “Thank you officer for what you do. We appreciate you so very much,” and the responses he gets are sometimes almost overwhelming. The appreciation.

Dave Kistler:                 Gary, I want you to do two things. I want you to follow up on what Keith shared, because those are great suggestions of ways we can give honor to whom honors are due. Talk about maybe some other specifics and things you’ve done, you’ve seen, that can be added to the suggestions that Keith has made. Then what I’d love for you to do is pray as we close the program, for our men and women in blue. They are on the front lines, they need our prayers, they need to prayers of a grateful nation as well.

Gary Dull:                     Well, they do and of course I would encourage every parent to teach their children to respect the officers. Like you said Dave, there’s going to be a bad apple somewhere here and there, but most of them are out there because they want to strengthen the community, so let’s teach our children and grandchildren, let’s encourage our officers. It’s true, that every time you go up to an officer and thank him or thank her, their whole department changes in the sense that their faces light up. They just appreciate it very, very much. Pray for them, thank them, offer to serve them when you can.

Gary Dull:                     You know, Dave, I don’t know if I’ve ever told this to you or not and I’m not necessarily suggesting it, but I remember years ago up in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, I was getting gasoline and an officer got himself involved in a scuffle there with a man and a woman. As he was beating the man or trying to contain the man, I should say, the woman came over and tried to get the gun out of the officer’s holster, and she was going to pull it on him.

Gary Dull:                     Well, I went over and got the lady and pulled her away and she had the gun by that time, I got the gun off of her hand and then just stood there holding the gun. Then the officer took care of the fellow and took his gun back and settled the situation. Every time I pass that gasoline station I remember that. I’m not saying that you should do that ladies and gentlemen, but anyway that you can help out a police officer, please do it.

Gary Dull:                     I probably did that because I was a little nuts, but you know, if I wouldn’t have done that, who knows how it might have turned out. Just something to think of.

 

5-24-18: The Lingering “side”effects of Obamacare

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, yesterday as we all know now, President Trump made history. He fulfilled another major promise when he removed the United States from the Iran Nuclear Deal. In just a moment, I’m going to play a short clip of a portion of his approximately 12-minute address where he laid that out. Since that announcement, Iranian lawmakers are burning United States flags. They are shouting “death to America,” which is what they have been shouting before but are now doing it even more. Iranian leadership have now said that they as a result are committed to spending vastly increased sums of money to do what? Greatly expand their production of missiles. No surprise. We know, if nothing else, by these actions that the president in fact did the right thing.

Sam Rohrer:                 Now, for the balance of the program though, we’re going to focus on health care. It’s been a while since we’ve talked about health care on the program, but that issue was a leading issue during the campaign, it’s a leading issue now, and we’re going to get an update from Twila Brase. She’s the president and co-founder of Citizens Counsel for Health Freedom. She’s been with us before, but she is probably one of the best authorities in what’s actually happening in the field of health care from a constitutional and right perspective.

Sam Rohrer:                 Now, our theme today I’m putting in this category, rising prices and DNA splices. Now, it’s a little play on word, but we’re going to start with rising prices and we’re going to go to DNA in the last segment. We’re going to talk about the rising health care price insurance costs generally, increasing drug prices specifically, and then we’re going to talk about DNA being connected from babies and from adults. Is there a scientific concern? Is there a moral concern? Well, all of this today on Stand in the Gap Today.

Sam Rohrer:                 With that introduction, I’d like to welcome you to the program. I’m Sam Rohrer, and I’m going to be joined by evangelist Dave Kistler, who today is joining us from where he’s been preaching this entire week, in West Virginia, and Dr. Gary Dull is from his studio as he normally does at his church there in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, men, the president said that he would make a decision on the Iran Nuclear Deal by May the 12th, which is Saturday. We’re sitting here on Wednesday, so he made the decision early on May the 8th. The world is reacting in a lot of diverse ways. After detailing Iranian violations and confirming their involvement in terrorism, the president said this yesterday. This is just a portion of what he said. Listen to this clip please.

President Trump:         Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen. In light of these glaring flaws, I announced last October that the Iran deal must either be renegotiated or terminated. Three months later, on January 12th, I repeated these conditions. I made clear that if the deal could not be fixed the United States would no longer be a party to the agreement. Over the past few months, we have engaged extensively with our allies and partners around the world including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. We have also consulted with our friends from across the Middle East. We are unified in our understanding of the threat and in our conviction that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon.

President Trump:         After these consultations, it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. The Iran Deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons. Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, that was the president yesterday. He said a lot more words than what you heard right there, but you got the context of what the president was saying.

Sam Rohrer:                 Dave, I want to go to you here, right off here in the first response. The statement by the president in this speech and his comments last Thursday that we shared yesterday on the program, the Day of Prayer, and things that he said, to me, they’re literally astounding. I just want to ask you this question here, from your perspective what characteristic in particular of presidential leadership stands out in that comment yesterday about the Iran deal and the comment last Thursday and what we’ve been seeing recently from the president? What characteristic stands out to you most?

Dave Kistler:                 Sam, let me mention three things very quickly. Number one, what he did yesterday was a promise he had made going way back in the campaign. He talked about how this deal was a terrible deal, it needed to be overturned. He didn’t just talk about it, he did it, so it was a promise made and a promise kept. That means there’s character involved there. If you listen to him outline the egregious violations on the part of Iran of the deal and what they have been involved in as far as terrorism and the promotion of it, he spoke with great conviction. So, not just character, conviction. And then the decisive nature, Sam, of this president. When he knows something is the right thing to do, he doesn’t wait, he doesn’t hedge, he’s not the least bit hesitate, he’s very decisive. All three of those, character, conviction, decisiveness, those are things we have been missing for a long time in presidential leadership. Thankfully, we have it now.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, Dave, I agree with you. The contrast between what we saw the last administration, which was appeasement at the very least, a whole lot more perhaps, but clearly distinctive.

Sam Rohrer:                 Gary, I want to go to you because right after that, last night, actually this morning [inaudible 00:06:20] fully announced that three U.S. prisoners that were held there in North Korean prison camps, where Barack Obama did nothing to seek or gain their release, have been released. They’re on their way back. The president’s going to meet with them today at 2:00 at the White House. Mike Pompeo in one of his first efforts as the secretary of state is bringing them back. Gary, what does that tell you?

Gary Dull:                     Well, certainly, it shows leadership. I think that one of the reasons why we are seeing Donald Trump getting things done is because he speaks truth to the power that is. When you bring truth to the point of power or you speak truth to power, things happen. We are seeing that not only in Korea but in other certain circumstances across the nation as well as around the world. This is the kind of leadership that we should see in the president and I’m glad that he’s showing it on a regular basis.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, I am too, Gary. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve talked on the program before about tough talk, which the president has done. We’ve talked about that, comparing that to appeasement, which we have seen and does not work very, very clearly. Tough talk without making the right choices becomes bad action. Fortunately, up to this point, we can be glad that we’ve had tough talk going in the right direction.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, when President Trump was running for office, he and many other Republicans as we all remember spoke out against the unfairness and the high cost of Obamacare. The president said that he’d repeal Obamacare, but as we remember the Republican and Democrat leadership couldn’t do what needed to be done and bring themselves to actually repealing it, so they tampered with it and removed the mandate and a few other provisions. While that, I think, well, provides some help, President Trump and the administration is going to need to do more because the prices continue to rise as a result of the built-in, it’s what I call it the Obamacare destroy the competitive system ingredients.

Sam Rohrer:                 The truth about rising health care costs and who’s responsible for it it’s going to be the subject in this next segment. As I mentioned in the last segment, our special guest is Twila Brase. She’s president and co-founder of the Citizens Counsel for Health Freedom. She’s a certified public health care nurse. They have their own website which you can find at cchfreedom, that’s Citizens Counsel for Health Freedom, cchfreedom.com, I believe. Well, anyways, Twila you can clarify that if that’s not correct, but glad to have you with us here today.

Twila Brase:                  Thanks so much, and, yes, it’s dot org. Cch …

Sam Rohrer:                 Okay.

Twila Brase:                  … freedom.org.

Sam Rohrer:                 Okay. Very good. Thanks for clarifying. I wasn’t quite sure when I was looking and I should have had that straightened away. It’s dot org and we’ll have you give that again.

Sam Rohrer:                 Twila, you’ve been apart of this whole health care fight for a long time. Many people thought that with the repeal of the Obamacare mandate specifically that it would cut the heart out of the Obamacare plan and would lead us quickly back to the restoration of a free market, competitive health care system, yet it appears that it’s not happening, at least not yet. What are the facts about some of these double-digit increases in health care insurance costs that we’re hearing about? Who’s involved in doing that? Are the costs at all remotely justifiable?

Twila Brase:                  It was, just to be clear, taking away the mandate to purpose health insurance, and by the way it’s not repealed, the only thing that happened is that the penalty has been zeroed out. The mandate is still there, but you don’t have to pay a penalty if you don’t get health insurance. Nothing’s been repealed, just the penalty went down to zero and could be lifted, raised back up if Democrats got in charge. So, anyway, but that freedom, the freedom not to buy health insurance because you won’t be penalized is a half-baked freedom because the other part of freedom that needed to be added was the freedom to buy a catastrophic health insurance policy, a true health insurance policy, something that is there only for the catastrophes, only for the major medical conditions.

Twila Brase:                  Those are the affordable policies. They have high deductibles because you’re going to pay for everything else in cash and you’re only going to pull out that true insurance policy when you have a catastrophe because at the end of the day that’s why people buy insurance. They don’t buy it for the sinus infection. They don’t buy it for the little broken toe that only is going to need to be looked at and then used paper tape to splint. They don’t buy it for that. They buy it for the catastrophe that will wipe out their income, their bank account, and their ability to even work.

Twila Brase:                  Still, the Affordable Care Act says that true insurance, catastrophic coverage is prohibited. We have got a half-baked freedom here, and because we still don’t have access to affordable policies because the Affordable Care Act prohibits them, the health plans are raising their prices because they know that at least four million people, less people are going to purpose coverage and perhaps even more than that. There’s at least eight million people in Medicaid today that are only there because of the mandate and are likely not to go back in as soon as they have freedom from it. Since you have to apply every year, they just won’t, right? That’s one of the reasons is because it’s just, it’s half-baked freedom and it needed to be the whole thing.

Gary Dull:                     Well, it’s not only half-baked, but I’ve often said, Twila, that it’s not too affordable, you know?

Twila Brase:                  Yes.

Gary Dull:                     The phrase Affordable Care Act I think needs to be reworked. Going on, unless there’s some major change to the remains of what we call Obamacare, the system is just going to continue to break down. My question to you is do you see the possibility of some states stepping up to help their citizens and therefore within those states diminish the role of the federal government as it relates to insurance and health care?

Twila Brase:                  Yes. The interesting thing about one thing I should just add about another reason the prices have gone up is because this is the way the health plans put pressure on the politicians to give them bailouts. The higher they raise people’s premiums, the more people scream at their members, and so the more incentive the members have to give the health plans bailouts. But just this morning, or maybe it was last night and just reported this morning, Senator Lamar Alexander, who is really the head of health care in the U.S. Senate, apparently has written a letter where he says that basically he’s given up on repealing the Affordable Care Act and now it’s up to the states and up to the Trump administration. And indeed, that has been our contention for several years now, that it’s really about the states taking back their Tenth Amendment rights and it’s about the Trump administration doing everything possible at the regulatory level to free the American people from the Affordable Care Act.

Twila Brase:                  Now, for your listeners to understand, not one scrap of the Affordable Care Act has been repealed except some very little things very early, long ago, 2010, 2011, but nothing’s been repealed. It’s all sitting there, basically all 2,700 pages of it still in law. What states can do and what states have been doing now is they’re looking, they’re remembering their Tenth Amendment rights, and Idaho was the first. Idaho’s governor issued an executive order, based it on the Tenth Amendment, and said we’re going to tell the insurance companies that have health plans in our state to offer policies that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act, and issued that executive order. Now, the Trump administration sympathized with them but said as the Trump administration they’re still supposed to be following the law, and so now they are in negotiations with Idaho to try to do something that’s halfway there but still keeps part of the Affordable Care Act and still gives some freedom and affordability to the people of Idaho.

Twila Brase:                  Even better than that is what Iowa did. What Iowa did was the legislature there created a new product. I think it’s called something like the Health Premium Product or something like that. It is going to be issued out of the Farmers Bureau and it’s going to be in concert with Blue Cross Blue Shield. What the legislature did was they said this particular product, which looks an awful lot like a catastrophic coverage plan, shall be deemed not to be health insurance. They specifically said it cannot be called health insurance and therefore it cannot be under the Affordable Care Act or any of the laws that have to do with health insurance at a federal level, and so …

Sam Rohrer:                 Twila.

Twila Brase:                  … now …

Sam Rohrer:                 Twila

Twila Brase:                  .. in Iowa …

Sam Rohrer:                 Twila.

Twila Brase:                  … they’re going to offer this. Yes.

Sam Rohrer:                 That’s a fantastic idea. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you understand what Twila’s saying there. That ability for the states to step in and to creatively say that offering what is in effect a catastrophic plan, which is exactly …

Twila Brase:                  Yeah.

Sam Rohrer:                 … what needs to be done …

Twila Brase:                  Yeah.

Sam Rohrer:                 … but just don’t call it insurance gets around the provisions of Obamacare in a legal and justified way. Twila, I’m glad that you brought that up because that is more than significant I think. You think other states are going to follow up with that …

Twila Brase:                  Yes, I just …

Sam Rohrer:                 … to copy it?

Twila Brase:                  … saw a, I just saw a news article that North Dakota now is looking into what their options are, and I believe that every state should do this as opposed to New Jersey which has decided to impose a state mandate. Since the federal one is not going to be imposed because there’s not penalties, now New Jersey has decided that they will impose it for the people in New Jersey. Of course, if I were somebody in New Jersey and I had a job in New Jersey, I would be thinking about moving to a border state and getting out of New Jersey because that is a huge tax on whoever has to pay that. People don’t think about that, but the mandate with the penalty, that penalty is a huge tax on their income.

Dave Kistler:                 Twila, let me quickly ask you this, was this entire Obamacare health care bill, was it designed to fail from the get-go in order to force the American people into a single-payer system, in other words socialized medicine like in Canada and England? And then a second question if I can very quickly, do you see the Trump administration doing something in addition to what they’ve already done? I mean, really taking the bull by the horns and trying to move us toward a more free market type approach to health care?

Twila Brase:                  I will say that I don’t know that it was intended to fail per se. I think it was intended to create a government-run health care system managed by the health plans because that’s even what Hillary was planning to do. It was that the managed care health plans, who aren’t, they are not insurance. The health plan you have in your hand, that is not insurance. It’s just a third party payer mechanism that’s really expensive. I think that was, it’s sort of like the American-style version of socialized medicine where we’re all under the same federal laws and we all got this thing called the health plan that runs it.

Sam Rohrer:                 Now, we’re going to go back here. We talked about rising health care insurance prices and we just talked about that in the last segment, but drug prices, pharmaceutical prices have also been substantially increasing. We talked about Obamacare. Twila, in the last segment, said she wasn’t sure that the Obamacare plan was in fact intended to fail. I think I’d agree with you, Twila, on that, but it was intended to put into place a single-payer socialistic form of federal, not even health insurance, it wouldn’t be fair to call it that, health maintenance or a socialized health plan. That was the goal, and unfortunately the Obamacare plan is still in effect.

Sam Rohrer:                 I want to move now to the issue of drug prices. Twila, the increases in drug or pharmaceutical costs are going through the roof just like the insurance prices are. You recently made a statement and I think in your, one of your newsletters, which I think if you want to comment on it could be available to our listeners if they’d want to get on your website, you said this, “The FDA, Food and Drug Administration, calls this is a rigged payment system.” You went on I think to say, “In response, one health care plan will pass some sort of a rebate back to the patients to lower drug costs. Congress should repeal the law that allows these kinds of kickbacks.” Okay, so, I’m just going to ask you this, expand upon what you say is a rigged system, Twila. Is that why the prices of drugs are going up?

Twila Brase:                  That is a major reason why the prices of drugs are going up. There’s a federal law that says there can’t be any kickbacks. However, group purchasing organizations were excepted from this law, and so now what’s happening is the pharmaceutical companies and the group purchasing organizations essentially purchase services and supplies for hospitals. It has been found that if hospitals purchase them on their own, directly, they can get much better prices, but oftentimes they have one of these group purchasing organizations do it. What pharmaceutical companies are doing is they are paying the group purchasing organizations, or GPOs. They’re paying these organizations to put their drugs in the hands of the hospitals.

Twila Brase:                  The other thing that’s happening is the pharmaceutical companies are giving rebates on these drugs to pharmaceutical benefit managers which are called PBMs and in an attempt to get their drugs on the formularies, or the list of approved drugs, and the health plans are getting the same kind of rebates for having certain drugs on their list of approved drugs.

Sam Rohrer:                 Hey, Twila. Twila, let me interject if I can here right now. This is a complicated subject. I don’t want our listeners to get totally lost. You know exactly what you’re talking about. We know a lot of what you’re talking about, but maybe not quite as exact. Let me ask you …

Twila Brase:                  Okay.

Sam Rohrer:                 … a clarifying question. You are basically saying that the pharmaceutical companies, those who manufacture the drugs, are basically giving you say a rebate, could be an incentive, some would call it just plain old marketing dollars, for their customers to buy their particular drugs. Now, that under a normal setting is nothing wrong with that. That happens across business always. Are you saying that that procedure, offering a rebate or incentive by a pharmaceutical company for someone to buy their particular brand of drug rather than another pharmaceutical company, are you saying that is wrong and are you calling that a kickback?

Twila Brase:                  Usually, the contracts are exclusionary or they’re single source, so as long as you just use their medication you can get the rebate or the kickback, right? These are exclusionary contracts to make sure that their competitions medications do not get in the hands of the hospital. This is one of the reasons why there are significant shortages.

Twila Brase:                  It was interesting, I was in Washington, D.C. and somebody asked this group of physicians, more than 100 physicians, how many of them had experienced drug shortages and almost every hand was raised. I asked at the end, I said, “Will everybody do that again because I want a picture?” I got a picture of all of these hands raised because this is what patients don’t understand, there are actually drug shortages. In this United States of America, there are drug shortages at the hospitals and in the clinics and part of the reason for that is because of these exclusionary contracts.

Twila Brase:                  The other thing that happens … and these single source contracts. There are these smaller companies, drug companies who can’t pay these kickbacks, they can’t pay these rebates, so they can’t get their perhaps better drug, cheaper drug, newer drug into the hands of patients and doctors because they’re not in the supply chain and they’re not allowed into the supply chain. All of that money from the middlemen, the GPO takes their cut, this purchasing organization they take their cut, the hospital gets part of the cut, and all of these cuts of money are taken and that increases the cost of every medication.

Dave Kistler:                 Twila, let me ask you this, it sounds like there should be some government entity or maybe some government agency that should be overseeing this to make sure these kind of things are not taking place, these drug shortages are not resulting from this. Is there an agency that’s failing to do it’s job, and if so what is that agency?

Twila Brase:                  Well, the FDA is already calling it a rigged payment system. What the problem is that Congress gave these group purchasing organizations an exception from the Anti-Kickback law. All Congress has to do is say “You know what? You guys are no longer exempt, and so there can be no kickbacks here.” As a practice is Medicare. They had this huge Medicare program, and it only increases prices for Medicare, right? It should be part of the Medicare program in the regulations that say that any hospital that receives kickbacks or any hospital with exclusionary contracts for medications shall be excluded from the Medicare program. Well, that’d shut it down before you could blink because that’s where hospitals get a lot of their money is from the Medicare program. Actually, all sorts of people get lots of money from the Medicare program, which is why …

Gary Dull:                     Sure.

Twila Brase:                  … Medicare is running out of money.

Gary Dull:                     Sure. You know, Twila, you had mentioned middlemen here a bit ago, and of course I think the Wall Street Journal actually mentioned the same thing recently. The question that I have for you, is there a place for middlemen in the drug process or is that just a part of the corrupted financial leech that does nothing more than suck the blood from the patient? You know, the patient seems to be the one who gets the bad end of the deal here.

Twila Brase:                  The patient always gets the bad end of the deal because the patient is last on the food chain as it were even though the patient should be the first and foremost in the eyes of absolutely everyone. But there are all these entities leeching off of the patient-doctor relationship, and illness, they’re really taking advantage of illness.

Twila Brase:                  The third party payer system and this middlemen, these are all middlemen. There’s just a ton of middlemen. Imagine if you put middlemen in the way or in between you and the grocery store or in between you and buying your car. They would require a chunk of dough in order to do that, and if they could get the car dealer to raise the price of the car even farther, they’d get a bigger chunk of dough. They do not have an incentive to keep the cost down. They have an incentive to keep the cost high because the greater the cost, the greater chunk that they get.

Sam Rohrer:                 All right.

Twila Brase:                  And that’s all the patient’s money.

Sam Rohrer:                 Twila, let me go back and say all right, now, the changes we talked about Iowa, what they’re doing, you mentioned Idaho as states perhaps getting into this to lower the overall cost of health care. If that action happens on a more broad scale with many states, will that be a mechanism to force down the middleman squeeze, the middleman so to speak in here, and force down the price of drugs too?

Twila Brase:                  Maybe. Because if hospitals found it more difficult to readily get access to cash from these health plans, which seems a bit of a collusive thing to us, and they had more traditional health insurance polices, then the patients would look at every price and there are some things that the patients would choose not to do and if the doctor or the hospital thought they wanted it done they’d have to find a cheaper way. According to the Government Accountability Office, hospitals can get lower prices when they go directly to the source, when they go directly to the pharmacy company or the pharmaceutical company, for instance.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, while I’m thankful, as I know we are all are, for the many advances in medicine and health care treatment because it’s made our lives a whole lot more fulfilling and enjoyable, it really has, the scientific advancements I’m going to put out there might have just now scaled the protective moral and ethical boundary wall. With the identification of DNA many years ago and the attempts to now map the human genome and the DNA, components of the human body, the potential for great gains in the prevention of disease also presents the potential to play around with what God has designed with the goal of creating disease. Yeah, you heard it right, creating disease or creating the perfect man.

Sam Rohrer:                 As we started the health care focus today on the theme of rising prices, I wanted to end this program today with a play on words, DNA splices. Our guest today is Twila Brase of Citizens Counsel for Health Freedom. You can find their website at cchfreedom, that’s Citizens Counsel for Health Care, cchfreedom.org. Twila, this area we could spend a whole program on, so it’s going to be real tough to narrow this down, but California’s in the news again, this time with babies and a DNA testing. Under federal authorization [inaudible 00:28:49] newborn genetic screening effort, that test was required or imposed upon all 50 states as far as I can determine. While babies born after 1983 have been having their heels pricked and blood samples drawn, this DNA testing it appears has not always been shared with many or most parents and they certainly don’t know what’s being done with it. It’s potentially problematic.

Sam Rohrer:                 Twila, I just want to start with you. Why is, if you want to call it this way, baby DNA, why is it being collected? How’s it being justified and/or sold to the public?

Twila Brase:                  It’s being collected at the time of newborn screening, which we call newborn genetic testing done by the government. It is a government program. Most states have it as a requirement in state law, although there are religious exemptions to it, and it tests the newborn’s blood for a variety of mostly newborn-acquired conditions, so conditions that would happen in the first few years of life, although increasingly they are doing some screening for things that are childhood conditions, which is much more controversial.

Twila Brase:                  Yes, California started storing the DNA, I believe, in 1983 and this is when the child’s heel is pricked. It usually happens within 24 to 48 hours of the birth of the child. A lot of parents don’t even realize it happens. The nurse comes gets the child, the child comes back with a bandaid on it’s heel, and nothing more is sent because the doctor doesn’t have to talk about it because it’s just law, and so a lot of parents don’t even know it happened.

Twila Brase:                  What happens there is that blood is dripped onto a special card which usually has four or five pieces of filter paper on it which creates spots, and then that card with those blood spots is sent to the state public health lab and they do this screen. In the mid-80s and for some states in the mid-90s, the states started looking at these cards and decided they were valuable, valuable genetic information on every child born in their state, and they started storing them. For the most part, they did it without any law, any rule. They just did it. California has been storing them since 1983, and the news article says that they have more than 9.5 million cards just since 2000, so that doesn’t count …

Gary Dull:                     Wow.

Twila Brase:                  … the 17 years before that. There are about 18 states that keep newborn DNA, or as we call it baby DNA, for 10 years to indefinitely. Michigan keeps it for 100 years in what they call the biobank or the biotrust, and parents have no, they’re not asked. There’s no consent here about storing, and in many states there’s no consent about the sale, the use, the analysis, the sharing of it either.

Dave Kistler:                 Twila, let me ask you this, it appears that this collecting of DNA and the mapping of it is all part of the National Institute of Health. They are overseeing this. Why is it the NIH that is part of the leading of this effort?

Twila Brase:                  These are two things, and I understand completely why you might think this. There is a program out of NIH called All of Us and they are trying to get one million people to hand over their DNA to the federal government to be fully sequenced. In other words, every part of the DNA, every gene, every pair, base pair, everything just laid out in a record. They’re trying that, but that is voluntary. So far, they’ve got about 25,000 people who have done it and they’re looking for a million. Whereas this program, the newborn screening and the DNA warehousing of baby DNA, that is being done, it’s not actually a federal program, but it receives a lot federal funding. Every individual state has their own individual state law, but they receive a lot of funding from the federal government and advice from the federal government. It’s semi-coordinated at the federal level, but they each have their own laws. It’s under state control and states can change its law.

Sam Rohrer:                 Okay, Twila, I got to go right into this before we run out of time here. I have raised the question about whether or not this is a morally good thing to do or a bad thing to do. I mentioned that there are other concerns. Chinese government for instance has been collecting DNA for a long time and I know, I’ve read things specifically that they’ve been working on producing a superior breed of Chinese. Well, just recently, last month The Pentagon raised a concern and what I’m reading for here says “Pentagon lab worries about CRISPR biotech  (that’s a name of this whole splicing part of it or clipping) biotech as China seeks genome lead.” We’re talking about DNA, and they are concerned about what China is doing and collecting DNA and doing their work with producing a bacteria or a disease that can be used as biological warfare. Should we be concerned about DNA for the good reasons it’s happening or should we be more concerned about the bad things that can be happening and evidently are happening?

Twila Brase:                  I think everybody should be concerned about CRISPR and the gene editing and this idea that as long as you find out what someone’s genome is, what they’re genetic blueprint is and all of the pieces of it that you can prevent disease. It’s like “Okay, how are you going to prevent disease?” Are you going to prevent certain parents from procreating together? Are you going to splice the genes with the idea that we’ll get rid of this one gene and then the two of you can get married and have a child together because otherwise you’re going to give us a very expensive child that we, the state have to pay for. That’s where it’s going, from our perspective, is a eugenics. It’s like a new version of eugenics where they want to make perfect children and non-diseased children and individuals who don’t have weaknesses.

Twila Brase:                  What are they going to create particularly with gene editing? They won’t know what they’ll create, and it might take a generation or two or three to figure out what has happened here when they have messed in the DNA and created something that God didn’t devise from the beginning and then they can’t stop it because all of these people have been born.

 

APN’s Voting Checklist Helps Equip Christians Before Heading to Polls

As 20 States Hold Primaries Over Next Six Weeks, APN President Sam Rohrer Offers Five Questions to Guide Voters at the Ballot Box

Millions of registered voters will head to the polls over the next six weeks, with 25 states planning primaries from May 15 to June 26.

Among them is Pennsylvania, the headquarters of the American Pastors Network (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net). APN President Sam Rohrer has been involved in politics in the Keystone State for more than 20 years and has used his own “Voting Integrity Checklist” for decades as a legislator. Now, he is offering some of the same ideals from the list to voters around the country in advance of these important upcoming primaries.

“Voting truly does have a lifetime of accountability,” Rohrer said. “The faithful cannot simply choose a name on a whim, listen to the headlines of a very biased media or go along with what the polls are dictating. Rather, voting must be a carefully considered, prayerful and serious decision. Our prayer is that every Christian will base their voting decisions on biblical principles and wisdom, rather than emotion, news reports or even social media.”

Decades ago, Rohrer created his “Voting Integrity Checklist,” a series of questions he developed for himself to use during his nearly 20 years in office as a legislator. It helped him ensure votes of integrity, but also to permit his fellow legislators and candidates to have a measuring stick on how to conduct themselves while in office. Ultimately, a number of Rohrer’s fellow lawmakers adopted his simple checklist.

This list, says Rohrer, is easily adaptable for voters as they head to the polls, whether in primaries or general elections:

  1. Is the issue I am voting for biblically moral? Does this candidate live by a set of biblical morals?
  2. Is this issue I am voting for constitutional? Is this candidate committed to upholding constitutional principles?
  3. Will voting for this issue preserve individual freedom and responsibility (versus strengthening government control) and does it preserve and strengthen the traditional family? Is this candidate also committed to these freedoms and ideals?
  4. Is this issue in the best interest of the general public (versus only special interests)? Does this candidate also advocate on behalf of constituents rather than special interest groups?
  5. Will the measure be governed in an efficient, effective and financially sound way? Is this candidate also committed to efficiency and sound fiscal spending?

APN is also partnering with iVoter Guide, a comprehensive, data-driven voter guide that is “grounded in God” and “rooted in research.” The guide provides voters with side-by-side comparisons of candidates for the primary elections, allowing them to identify who most closely shares their values and who has the record to back up campaign promises.

APN Conference Call for Pastors Highlights APN Benefits on June 5

We hope you’ll join us for a valuable Pastors Conference Call on June 5 to learn more about the new APN Benefits program!

The guest speaker will be Peter Persuitti, Managing Director of Arthur J. Gallagher Co., a non-profit risk management, insurance, and consulting agency. This organization is partnering with APN to present benefits to pastors and churches.

WHO: American Pastors Network
WHAT: Conference Call: “7 Reasons Why APN Benefits Membership Assists Pastors and Churches”
WHERE: Call in to (515) 739-1030, access code: 466203852 #
WHEN: 9-10:30 a.m. EST Tuesday, June 5
HOW: Register for the call here. There will be a time for Q&A at the end of the call. Learn more about APN Benefits, such as Compliance and Crisis Management Resources; Church Governance and Human Resources Services; Accident Insurance and Ministry Protection; Travel, Health, Life and Long-Term Insurance Coverage; and much more. To find out more, visit the APN Benefits Membership website HERE.

Photo by Rayi Christian Wicaksono on Unsplash

5-1-18: The Greatest Threat to American Culture

Gary Dull:                     Well what is the number one threat that faces America today? Is it possible that God is using this threat to bring judgment upon America for her national sins done through the years? Is there anything that can be done to end this threat? I know these are questions that may or may not be prominent in your mind up to this point today, but now they are in your mind, and these questions must be considered if we want to rid our nation of that which threatens to destroy it ladies and gentlemen.

And the serious thing to consider is that this threat is not something that is yet to come, but is something that’s already at work in our midst. Now with those thought provoking questions and statements in mind, I’m Pastor Gary Dull, and I wish to welcome you to this edition of Stand in the Gap today from the American Pastors Network, today my co host is Jim O’Bryon, who’s been on with us from time to time, and along with us is our guest Dr. Tom Wallace, who serves as the founder and director of the Fortress of Faith Ministries.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, you know that on Stand in the Gap, we speak a lot about Islam and how it’s growing world wide. As a matter of fact, I was thinking about this yesterday afternoon, and I really don’t know of a program in general on radio or a Christian based program specifically on radio that deals with Islam as much as we do here at Stand in the Gap. And of course, we do it from our own discussion, as well as having various sources on who are experts in Islam. We talk a lot about it over these radio programs.

And as you know if you were there yesterday, just yesterday in the program, we spoke about ISIS, and how ISIS is present in our American classrooms, and bringing Sharia law right into our classrooms here in the United States of America. But today, we want to focus on the fact hat Islam is the number one threat to the American culture. That’s right, let me repeat it. Islam is the number one threat to the American culture. Having said that, I’m sure that you’ll want to stay tuned to the program for sure, you’ll not want to run too far from your radio, or your computer, or your phone, however you may be listening.

In fact, you might want to call a friend to let them know that the program is now on the air, and where they can tune in as well. But it’s a delight to have you there. Jim O’Bryon welcome back to Stand in the Gap today.

James O’ Bryon:            Gary it’s great to be here, thank you.

Gary Dull:                     And Tom, welcome back as well.

Tom Wallace:               Well thank you Gary. I’ll tell you it’s always a joy to be here with you and your listeners here on Stand in the Gap, God bless you for what you do.

Gary Dull:                     Thank you and thank you for what you do. We’re going to put you under the gun today, are you ready?

Tom Wallace:               I’m ready to go.

Gary Dull:                     All right. Well let’s start with an easy question Tom, if you don’t mind. Share with our listeners a little bit about what Fortress of Faith Ministries is all about, if you would please.

Tom Wallace:               Sure, be glad to. Well Fortress of Faith was started about 10 years ago. I came off the mission field. I spent 29 years of my life overseas, and as an American, I gained a bit of view of America from outside. So, I look at America differently I guess from you guys. There’s a saying, you can’t see the trees for the forest. You’re up too close, so I have an outside view perhaps.

But, being involved in church planning overseas, I began to see in Europe, the growth of Islam, and God has called me off the foreign mission field, back to my home country to warn my countrymen of what I believe is judgment, coming judgment. For our sins. And I believe that God is raising up an enemy as an instrument of that judgment, that being Islam. So Fortress of Faith is basically taking on these issues, we have three goals. We say number one, revive America. If God’s judging us for our sins, he’s bringing punishment to get us to repent. So if we avoid the spanking, avoid God’s judgment, we need to repent.

Either, one way or the other God will be glorified. So, revive America. Number two, resist Islam. Any nation that did not resist Islam lost its freedom, lost its culture, lost its faith. And, number three, rescue Muslims. We don’t blame Muslims for Islam, we believe they’re victims of Islam. And they need to be rescued and brought to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Gary Dull:                     Amen.

Tom Wallace:               The word of God. So our ministry has these three goals.

Gary Dull:                     Amen.

James O’ Bryon:            Given the fact that you’ve spent a couple of decades in England, over in Europe, and also a couple of decades on this side of the ocean, and your years studying this particular faith, could you sort of take us back in history to how this whole Islam religion if you want, I guess it’s a religion right? It’s a way of thinking too. How it all started?

Tom Wallace:               Sure, well 1,400 years, 1,400 years ago the Prophet Muhammad came along saying that he was getting revelations from God through the angel Gabriel. And, started preaching his monotheism doctrine in a polytheistic country. He wasn’t well received by his own people, by the Arabs, and so they threw him out of Mecca. He goes up to the Jews in Medina, and he starts greeting them by tidings, I’m your prophet, and they don’t receive him as a prophet, so now the Arabs don’t want him, the Jews don’t want him, now his message begins to change, fight this that they believe not.

And so, becomes militant, and over the next 10 years, he controls all of Arabia, all of Jews have been killed or banished, and in the next 100 years, they control all of Africa, all of the Middle East, and moving up into Europe. And so they have grown with the sword, that has been their modus operandis, and they continue today to do that.

Gary Dull:                     You know Tom, every now and then on this particular program even, we hear the phrase reformed Islam. And, my question is, what is the meaning of that expression, and is there such a thing as real Islam versus fake Islam?

Tom Wallace:               Well that’s a very good question, and actually I believe there is. For years, I used to say there’s only one Islam, and I’ve come to have to accept that there are Muslims out there who have only been taught the reformed version of Islam. It’s a fake version, it’s not Muhammad’s Islam. The reformed version is actually palable, adjustable to our society. Those types of Muslims honestly believe, because they’ve only been taught the peaceful passages, that’s very similar to our Bible. And, that’s all they know.

But the militant Muslim is Muhammad’s type of Islam. About 20% of the Muslims in the world are following Muhammad’s Islam. 80% are following a reformed version, and most of the Muslims we know of in the west have embraced this reformed version. But I always want to tell our people there that yeah there’s real Islam and fake Islam. But, the moderate Muslims were the ones who brought Sharia law to Britain, they can’t help themselves. Sharia is an essential part of Islam, and Islam will reign even among the moderates as well as the militant.

Gary Dull:                     But this is important information, and ladies and gentlemen, you’re not going to want to go away from the radio, and we’re going to go into a break in just a moment, but before we do Tom, can you give the website, your information, that people can learn more about your ministry please?

Tom Wallace:               Sure, yeah. We’re at fortressoffaith.org, fortressoffaith.org.

Gary Dull:                     And so folks I would encourage you to go to fortressoffaith.org, and learn more about their ministry, and what they are doing to both teach what Islam is all about, and of course, to reach Muslims for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen to Stand in the Gap today, we are delighted to have you there, and thank you so very, very much for the pleasure of your company. Today we’re going to continue our discussion on Islam, and why it is the greatest threat to the United States of America both as it relates to its culture, its government, and its religion. So we’re not going to delay, we want to jump right into it. And of course, our guest with us today is Dr. Tom Wallace with the Fortress of Faith Ministries, and Tom, I have a two fold question to ask you here if you don’t mind, as we begin this particular segment.

Number one, is there a difference between Islam and a Muslim? And then, to add to that, why do you believe that Islam is the greatest threat to America today?

Tom Wallace:               Okay, first of all yes, Islam and the Muslim are two separate fields, and we as Christians, when we address this subject, we’ve got to separate these issues. Islam is an ideology, it is the religion, it is a system that Muhammad started 1,400 years ago. The Muslim is the person, he’s the adherent, he’s the one who follow it. And, it’s like you can’t judge though what Islam is by what you know of a Muslim, because he may not be a faithful Muslim, he may not be knowledgeable, he may be following his own version of Islam, the God that he wants him to be, whatever, like the reformers were doing.

So, like Christians, you can’t judge what Christianity is by what you know what your Christian neighbor is, or even what you may be, you may not be a good example of being a Christian. And so the Muslim is the follower, okay, and we separate the issues because when I address Islam, I want to talk about the ideology, this system. The Muslim, he’s a person I’ve got to talk about his situation differently, I’m not attacking him, but I am addressing an ideology that developed 1,400 years ago, and it should be able to be tested if it’s of God, you know, it should stand truth, should stand the test.

So, we examine that, and we take that on. Now okay, why do I call Islam the greatest challenge to America? Let me throw you into another field for a second. Hitler, Nazism, would you consider that evil and destructive to our world, to our way of life? Of course everyone would say yes. Would we be appalled if their propaganda party was teaching and preaching their doctrines here? Yes, we’d oppose that, we’d say that’s wrong, we need it out of here, and we would you know, pretty much all of America would be in an uproar if that was going on.

Now why? Because we see it as a secular ideology, but what if Hitler pronounced himself as a prophet? What if he said his Nazism was his religion, and he gave some name to a god? And he sent over his preachers to come and preach his doctrines, and it would have protection now under the first amendment, right. And so now it’d be more difficult for us to stop that ideology from being peddled amongst our children, our schools, our prisons, our people. And so, if an ideology is evil and wicked, and still under the banner of a religion, it doesn’t make it right. In fact, our fore founders realized that. You know, giving liberty a freedom of religion, I think it was Patrick Henry that said, except for those who use the color of religion to harm persons and property.

That’s actually in the Maryland state constitution, and the Virginia state constitution, I believe it’s still in the Maryland, still to this day. And so we do recognize that there are some so called religions who use the color of religion to harm persons and property. And Islam fits in that, you look at the goals and the agendas. Saying what kind of government does Islam set up? They set up a tyrannical, a despotic, a dictatorship, just like Nazism was doing. They kill their dissidents, they want to kill the Jews, we could go down the list of similarities.

If Hitler did what he did, we call that evil, if he did it in the name of god it would be less evil, we wouldn’t call that less evil would we? We would still call it evil. So that’s why Islam is our greatest challenge, because it has protection of a religion.

James O’ Bryon:            Tom, ironically you know, if you asked the average person on the street what is Islam, I think the answer would be in most cases, well it’s one of the worlds great religions, but it’s also heavily political isn’t it? And even beyond that, you’ve got you know, they’ve got their culture, they’ve got their government, they’ve got their influence, all over the world. Could you explain you know, what does this mean to our listeners when it’s more than just quote unquote a religion?

Tom Wallace:               Sure, yeah. I’ve been saying this for years. Muhammad was not just building a religion, he was building a kingdom, an empire. And the best way to prove that is to go to their Sharia law book. The Sharia law book, the oldest, the most accepted, wide accepted law of Sharia has been around for well, 1,400 years was Muhammad, 700 years, all of the Islamic scholars came together, there were five different [foreign language 00:13:14] of schools of interpretation, and they came together, and they codecised a single law book.

And, it’s known as the Reliance of the Traveler. The first 370 pages deals with their religion. The laws of how you worship god, and his theology, the five pillars, and all that stuff, okay. That’s their religion. The next 750 pages deals with their government. So that is a perfect way for us to show that Islam is more than just a religion, there is a religious attachment for it-

James O’ Bryon:            Sure.

Tom Wallace:               You can’t deny that, people say Islam’s not a religion. Well, you don’t know what you’re talking about I’m afraid. That’s not a good way to approach this. But it is more than a religion, it is also a government. And, so we say, hey, we have laws to protect religion, go ahead, pray your prayers, build your mosque, go on your pilgrimage, see you know, do your fasting all that type of stuff, we don’t want to say you can’t do your religion. So do that, but you cannot bring your government.

James O’ Bryon:            Ironically I think in America, when we’re looking at Christianity, it’s nowhere near that controlling of the persons life. You know, we tend to, if we go to church, we go to Sunday morning maybe for an hour, and walk home, and say we’ve done our thing as far Christianity or whatever the religion happens to be, but this is a way of life.

Tom Wallace:               Yeah.

James O’ Bryon:            It captures you.

Tom Wallace:               Well for goodness sake, the Sharia even tells you how to go to the bathroom for goodness sake. There’s stuff I can’t talk about on the air, but-

Gary Dull:                     Yeah this is a family program, all right.

James O’ Bryon:            Tune I later.

Tom Wallace:               That’s another story.

Gary Dull:                     But you know that’s interesting, Sharia actually does reach into almost every aspect of the human being does it not?

Tom Wallace:               It’s so controlling, and that’s what Islam is about. Islam means submit, surrender. And the Muslim is the surrendered one. They used to be called Mohammedans, now they like to be called the Muslim, the surrendered one, I’m [Arabic 00:15:01], I’m surrendered, I’m surrendered to Allah.

Gary Dull:                     Well you know yesterday we were talking to John Guandalo, we had him on the program, and he was telling us how that ISIS is now teaching Islam in Muslim schools in junior high and elementary I guess, elementary and junior high school. The serious thing of that is, the states in which those particular schools are, are still being accredited by the local states. How can that be done? They’re teaching Sharia law, how can Sharia law be accredited by a state government here in the United States of America? That’s almost an oxymoron.

Tom Wallace:               Well this is what I call the sticky wicket, excuse me I lived in England for a long.

Gary Dull:                     I know what that is.

Tom Wallace:               But, the point here is that you cannot separate the Sharia from Islam.

Gary Dull:                     That’s right.

Tom Wallace:               So if you allow Islam, you in a sense have been saying, well we’ve got to bring in the Sharia. We need to realize, there’s the religious part, there’s the elements of their religion, okay fine, have that. But you can’t bring in the government part, we have to separate that part of the Sharia, and you can you know, intellectually do that if people were knowledgeable.

Gary Dull:                     But can you do that practically?

Tom Wallace:               I believe you can do it practically, from our point of view. Now from a Muslim point of view, they’d say nay, you know, because it’s all part of Allah. Allah’s law is greater than man’s law, you know. So they would want that other part with them. And, my suggestion is, well I’m sorry, we have a government here, you can go to other countries if you like that will practice that, but not here.

Gary Dull:                     Yeah. Let’s go back to something that you’ve referred to, I think in the last segment that you also mentioned it, you are this week with us here at the Central Pennsylvania Bible Conference in Altuna, Pennsylvania. And, you mentioned that Islam is more serious than secularism, communism, or nazism. Why do you say that? We have less than two minutes in this segment, but why do you say that Tom?

Tom Wallace:               Okay, well, humanism has now killed 55 million. The doctrines of communism has killed 100 million, the doctrines of nazism killed 30 million, but the doctrines of Islam has now killed 270 million. And, because it is a doctrine of the sword. We’re the only ones that’s calling Islam the religion of peace, we have bought a lie, we have been fed a deception, and we’ve run with that, and we need to recognize that they call it the religion of the sword. Why? Because that’s exactly what Muhammad gave them. Now true, not every Muslim understands that and is following that, and we need to come to terms. We need to admit that there are some Muslims who are being taught a different version of Islam, and that’s all they know. So they really think that their religion is being hijacked.

The fact is that Muslims aren’t trained very well in their scriptures, they’re never encouraged to study. They keep the religion in Arabic, and so they don’t know what’s being said really, what the book says, what the prayers mean, and so they’re left in ignorance, and so the majority of the questions I ask Muslims are very clueless, it’s sad. But when you get them to the truth, then their eyes are opened, and many people are trying to run and leave it, when they realized.

Gary Dull:                     Well where does this lie come from that Islam is a religion of peace? That many pastors in America teach today in four seconds?

Tom Wallace:               Well it comes from the Muslim, you know, and we’re buying their story. And we’ve got to be better than that.

Gary Dull:                     Buying their story, so it’s important that we do what we can to understand what Islam is all about, and I guess the best way to do that is just to read the Quran.

Tom Wallace:               Well, and the Sunna.

Gary Dull:                     And the Sunna.

Tom Wallace:               There’s more than the Quran, that’s part of the problem, we don’t know that there’s more scriptures out there.

Gary Dull:                     In the first two segments of our program today, we’ve basically laid the foundation of what Islam is all about, and why we believe that it’s the number one threat to America today. But in this segment, we want to drill down a bit more into this subject to let you know why Islam is what it is in the sense that it’s a great threat. But what Islam is actually doing in America, even as we speak, so the information that we are going to share in this segment is very crucial information for you to consider.

So Tom, right out of the chute here again, let me just ask you, how many Muslims are in America today?

Tom Wallace:               Okay, well, according to the US census back in 2010, they tell us that there’s three million Muslims here. Now how many of us actually believe that the Muslims told the government that we’re here? The reality is, there’s about seven million according to my source in the FBI. They work on a number of about seven million Muslims here. Now Canada says about three million up there so about 10 million in North America. In Europe, 45 million Muslims in Europe. There’s an interesting trend, they are fleeing the Middle East, they’re fleeing African nations, probably because there’s not much prosperity, partly because Islam’s despotic, and the Islamic world is experiencing what’s called solophism, which basically means revival or returning back to the foundations. It’s a foundation returning movement there.

So they’re returning back to Muhammad’s form of Islam, the Ottoman Empire brought in a reformed version, and you make up your own god according to your liking, and whatever pretty much. And so, as they’re coming back into Sharia, because that’s what Islam will do, drive you back to god’s law, Muslims are fleeing, and they’re coming to the west. Now some are coming maybe to bring Islam with them, and bring their destruction with them. I believe they are, but that’s about 20% as a general rule. But eight out of 10, I mean I work with Muslims, part of our ministry is evangelizing Muslims, and from those we’ve taught how to evangelize, and we’ve worked with on the radio, we’ve seen now 85 Muslims come to Christ, and I’m working now a lot with Syrians, refugees coming over.

So trust me, they are coming to get away from it, and they’re not all here to hurt us. They’re looking for freedom, they’re looking for opportunity, and we can’t get the gospel to their address, but they’re coming to our address. And so it’s a wonderful opportunity, so we have about seven million to 10 million Muslims in North America, and it’s a grand opportunity for us.

James O’ Bryon:            Yeah, Tom, I was recently out in Dearborn, Michigan, and also in Minneapolis, and I noticed there’s quite a few minarets sticking up around the towns, and also just last week down in the Boca Raton area in Florida, there’s two mosques on one road. I mean, probably a half a mile apart, so it was sprouting out all over the place. Now my question I guess is, what in roads are they making, not just in building, but in our culture across the country?

Tom Wallace:               Well, that’s a concerning issue, because we do have part of the enemy of Islam, as I said. God’s raising up Islam as an instrument of judgment. So those who are the militant, those who are the you know, following Muhammad’s Islam, these are the people who follow, who join ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood. I believe the Muslim Brotherhood is the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world today, more dangerous than ISIS, more dangerous than Al Qaeda, and why they’re dangerous is because they know our weak points, and they’re exploiting it. They realize, you know, they’re blessed, they’re great, you go and fight them, they’ve got armies, and they beat us every time.

The Muslim Brotherhood is trying to destroy us from within, and they’ve set up their operative groups here in 1969 they came in at Illinois, and they setup the MSA, the Muslim Student Association, it’s just about every state college in America has a chapter of the Muslim Student Association, they’re now going into our high schools, going into our middle schools, and they are across our nation, and they’re recruiting, and doing their evangelism, their dawa, of our children, the less discerning. And kids who have a rebellious heart. Those are the ones who are getting attracted into Islam.

So they’re making in roads. CARE, the Council of American Islamic Relations.

James O’ Bryon:            I was going to mention that.

Tom Wallace:               You know, they are installed in many government positions.

James O’ Bryon:            The White House.

Tom Wallace:               They have 20 professional lobbyists there, two blocks away from the Capitol Building. And, you know, they’re well entrenched, you’ve got ISNA, that’s their you know, how they get everybody grouped together, their network, NAIT the North American Islamic Trust, that owns 80% … All these are front groups of the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s documented, the government knows it. They have been actually prosecuting under the Bush administration, then when Obama came in, all that got stopped. I was hoping that when Trump got elected that we would start the prosecution again, because the evidence is out there. All these groups are called unindicted co conspirators, and we need to go after them.

James O’ Bryon:            It seems like rather than going after them in the country, what Trump is trying to do is at least stem the tide of those who were coming in.

Tom Wallace:               Well you know, fortunately he was elected, and stopped the you know, the trend of them coming in, because Obama had thrown up all the rules of the vetting process, and was putting our nation at great risk, especially this coming over from Syria. And, fortunately we had a stay on that until we could fix the vetting process. Well the wheels are now turning, trust me, because I see them coming in.

Gary Dull:                     You know Tom, we have a sovereign God, and we often say on this program that God causes, allows, and directs all things to happen. The United States of America was founded on Biblical truth, we understand that, we know that. The constitution is Biblically based. So, why do you think that God would allow Islam to come into the United States of America today and capture some of these inroads that we’re talking about?

Tom Wallace:               Well let me give you a little history lesson. 100 years ago, after World War I, there were only 300 million Muslims, 100 years ago, 300 million. Today, 1.6, 1.7 billion, in 100 years.

Gary Dull:                     Now that’s worldwide?

Tom Wallace:               That’s worldwide, yes. That’s worldwide. So technically speaking, one in four people are now Muslim. You think God notices that? Absolutely. Why is this happening? I believe God’s allowing that to happen, because we in the west, we have failed to honor God, we’ve rebelled against him, we thought we became great, because of ourselves. And, we can live any way we want. As I preached on Sunday, America, you’re not too big to fail. And I believe that we are tempting God with our pride, with our arrogance, with our rebellion, and I believe God is raising up an enemy.

They made a decision back in 1920, when the last, when the caliphate came to an end after World War I, and the fundamentalists realized we’d lost Islam because we allowed the liberals to reign. We’ve got to take it back, and they set out a plan. We need to procreate. And so, the average Muslim family, per wife I should say, and they’re allowed four wives. A good number of them will have at least two. They have five children per woman. And so it’s only a matter of math. When we only have maybe 1.4, 1.7 children in the west, and then we’re killing our unborn, so we’re getting the fruit of our own … The Bible says you reap what you sow.

Gary Dull:                     That’s right. So in essence, do you think this is a part of God’s judgment upon America?

Tom Wallace:               Exactly, I believe their growth is a direct response to our sin, and God’s raising up an enemy that will bring our destruction if we don’t correct our ways.

Gary Dull:                     Tom, national day of prayer is two days away. In light of what we’re talking about today, what should the prayer of American Christians be in this context?

Tom Wallace:               Well I’ve been saying for a decade, since I’ve been home, you know … And I’m proud of America, don’t get me wrong, and you know, I want to sing with everyone, God bless America, we want God’s continued blessing. But I believe we need to be honest, admit that we’ve wronged God, we’ve failed, and we need to start praying oh God have mercy on America. My prayer every election is God don’t give this nation what we deserve, give us what we need. And we need to continue to pray that way folks.

Gary Dull:                     And that involves repentance, turning from our sin and turning back to God.

Well welcome back ladies and gentlemen, and on the program today, we’ve been discussing the fact that we believe that Islam is the greatest threat to America today. And, you may have a difficult time agreeing with us, but we feel that we’re correct on this, and therefore I would encourage you to study up on Islam more, and I believe that by doing so, you will come to an agreement with us, that Islam is the greatest threat to America today, religiously, culturally, and politically. But, as we’ve come to the final segment of our program today, we want to deal with the solution to the growth of Islam in America.

The question is, is there a solution? And so, Tom Wallace, as our expert with us here today, I just want to ask you point blank, is there a way to stop the growth of Islam in America today? And in answering that question, try to address it politically, culturally, and religiously if you would please.

Tom Wallace:               Well, my goodness, culturally I don’t think we can really say no more Muslims are allowed into our country, it’s a religion, you’re not going to be able to legally do anything like that, okay.

Gary Dull:                     Well Trump’s trying.

Tom Wallace:               Well you know, they’re misunderstanding Trump. This isn’t a Muslim ban, this is a ban from countries that are coming, that are involved with terrorist activity. So we’ve got to be honest about that, liberals are trying to paint it that way, and if it’s a Muslim ban, we’d be you know, blocking many, many more countries, okay. So, it’s not a Muslim ban, so culturally we can’t say you can’t have Islam here, because our laws allow that.

But what we do have is an opportunity to evangelize. And, we’ve got to recognize that the greater host of the Muslims that are coming to us, have been coming to get away from the tyranny of Islam. But how are they received? This is why I saw, I address Islam in one way, but I address the Muslim in another. He’s a victim, and he needs Christ, he’s looking for answers. What they’ve been giving them, they know isn’t right. But they’re afraid to leave Islam, because every Muslim knows, even a moderate Muslim, a reformed Muslim knows, that death to the apostate, you know. We kill the apostate, anyone who renounces their faith is to be killed.

So, they’re afraid to leave Islam, but they come here so they don’t have to practice it, they’re looking for more openness, freedom, and all that stuff. And, so we have a grand opportunity to evangelize these people, bring them the gospel. Folks, as Christians, we’re told to take the gospel to every creature, we’re even to love our enemy. And God has called us, in the Bible it tells us how we’re to treat the stranger in the land. You know, we’re to treat them as our brother, the Bible tells us. And so, our answer to that question is, how do we deal with the Islam issue that’s here?

Well, number one we’ve got to deal with Islam as an enemy, the ideology. But the Muslim, we’ve got to treat him as a person, who we can bring the gospel to them, and to free them, and God’s word will do that. It’s powerful folks, if we can only get them into God’s word.

Gary Dull:                     But I find that there might be those out there who will say, well I’m afraid to approach a Muslim about Jesus Christ. Should there be fear there?

Tom Wallace:               Well I understand that, my goodness, you know, we feel like Jonah, being called to the Assyrians, and to preach to them. Hey, they’re our enemy, why do we want to take the gospel to them? And I understand the fear. But there’s things that we can help you with. I wrote my book, Refuting Islam, said it helped people have the chapter and verse that will explain every evil, nasty thing about Islam, and to have the chapter and verse to be able to quote it, and it’s one thing for us to say Islam’s wrong, and have an opinion, but it’s another thing to say, Islam’s wrong, and have the proof-

Gary Dull:                     To know why.

Tom Wallace:               To have the chapter and verse. And that’s what refutingislam.com, that website for some reason, we’ve been attacked, you know. They’ve hit us a few times there, that website is actually down right now, so you can get the book off of Amazon, but refuting Islam, Tom Wallace is there. We wrote our course, Engaging Muslims with the Gospel, that’s being rewritten and republished, coming out soon.

Gary Dull:                     And that’s an excellent book, and you know, there’s a lot of good information in that book, Refuting Islam is what it’s called. But you know, one of the greatest things about that book is the glossary that’s in the back of it.

Tom Wallace:               Well thank you, I would’ve given my hind teeth for something like that 30, 40 years ago.

Gary Dull:                     I’ve already given mine.

Tom Wallace:               It’s so good it has a glossary, and even how to pronounce these terms there. I mean, for years I called the hadid the hadid.

Gary Dull:                     Oh yeah, well that’s true. You know, that’s right.

Tom Wallace:               The way it’s written, so having that glossary, that helps, I believe, so that’s why I put it there.

Gary Dull:                     Jim?

James O’ Bryon:            Well, I guess Tom, let me just ask one thing, if people are listening across the country to what you’re saying, what is a practical thing you could say to the average housewife or man that’s maybe riding home from work or whatever, to actually do something over this next week to accomplish what we’ve been talking about today?

Tom Wallace:               Hey, if you ever come in touch with a Muslim, let’s say you’re in a taxi, you’re in a gas station, whatever, and stuff, ask a Muslim this. I’m not trying to be funny, but I heard from a guy who you know, has studied Islam, and I thought this was interesting, and was wondering if you had an answer. In the Quran, 14 times the word holy is used. Every time it’s referring to god, an attribute of god, because that’s god you know, holy. But it’s also referred to one human, one person, Jesus, in chapter 11. Jesus is called holy in the Quran, why?

That really is a puzzlement for a Muslim. Now he’s going to tell you, I don’t know, you need to talk to an imam. But you’ve planted a seed of question, of doubt, thought, whatever, and with Muslims, if you build a friendship with them, I’ve never known a Muslim to get saved who didn’t yet have a friendship with a Christian. That’s an important part.

Gary Dull:                     Relationship.

Tom Wallace:               And, but when you build that relationship, you can say, have you ever let a Christian open the Bible and explain it to you? You know, would you let me do that? I’m not going to tell you I’m right and you’re wrong, but I believe if we pray to the God of Abraham, that as we read God’s word. Take them to the gospel of John, and John is so good, because it addresses a point that they’ve been told. Jesus never said that he was God. Well very clearly Jesus is communicating that he’s God. Five times he was accused of blasphemy, because he was saying he’s God.

Gary Dull:                     Right.

Tom Wallace:               And they wanted to kill him before it, because they thought it was blasphemy.

James O’ Bryon:            You’ve seen me, you’ve seen the father.

Tom Wallace:               That’s right. And so John is a great place to go, because that’s dealt with a lot, the deity of Christ. And when Muslims see that, and just let God’s word speak, and just answer their questions. You know, you say I’m right and you’re wrong and stuff there, I mean, we can deal with that all day long, about how they’re wrong, but deal with, bring them to the truth.

Gary Dull:                     Bring them to the truth, give them the word of God, because God’s word does not return them to the unemployed, does it? Tom Wallace, thank you very much for being with us today. Again you are with Fortress of Faith Ministries, give the contact information please.

Tom Wallace:               Fortressoffaith.org or .com, same website.

Gary Dull:                     Okay. And, to get your book?

Tom Wallace:               Yeah, that’s Refuting Islam, and it’s at Amazon.

What Is God’s Plan for Israel on 70th Anniversary?

American Pastors Network Explores News Surrounding Israel, Iran and More on ‘Stand in the Gap Today’ Radio Program

It’s been a busy few days for headlines surrounding Israel—from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposing Iran’s lies to the U.S. withdrawal of the Iran nuclear deal to the impending 70th anniversary of Israel becoming a nation on May 14, 1948.

The American Pastors Network has been following all this news on its popular radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” heard on 425 stations around the country.

Nearly once a week, “Stand in the Gap Today” host and APN President Sam Rohrer focuses on issues surrounding Israel by welcoming expert guests on the topic, as well as addressing news coming out of the Middle East from a biblical and constitutional perspective.

“Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu called a news-shattering news conference about the lies of Iran regarding its nuclear program and figuratively shook the ground underneath the Iran nuclear deal that was deceptively negotiated between the leaders of Iran and former President Barack Obama,” Rohrer said. “But before this exposé, Israel literally shook the ground in Syria as it inflicted a wound not only against Syrian forces, but as an attack against Iran and its ambitions to destroy Israel and the United States. Although they may think it’s thousands of miles and several time zones away, Christians are directly impacted by news like this, and must be up to speed on all that is happening daily in the Middle East and how it relates back to God’s Word.

“Now more than ever, the faithful must be tuned in to God’s plans for this world, our country and the nation of Israel, which on Monday, will look back on the 70 years since becoming a nation,” he added. “Where has Israel been, where is it headed and what is God’s plan for this nation? These are questions important to American Christians everywhere.”

“Stand in the Gap Today” will address Israel and Iran again today on the program. The show can be heard live online from noon to 1 p.m. EST at American Pastors Network.com at the orange “Listen Live” button on the right-hand side of the webpage, or find a station here.

Listen to clips from a recent “Stand in the Gap Today” program on these topics below: