Christianity, Culture, and Credibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Todd Nettleton :              Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaac Crockett:                 Amen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Pastors Only – Prayer of a Minor Prophet By A. W Tozer

For Pastors Only – Prayer of a Minor Prophet

By A. W Tozer

This is the prayer of a man called to be a witness to the nations. This is what he said to his Lord on the day of his ordination. After the elders and ministers had prayed and laid their hands on him he withdrew to meet his Saviour in the secret place and in the silence, farther in than his well-meaning brethren could take him. And he said:

O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou hast called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou are about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, our Lord, Thou has stopped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man takes this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine but Thine. Thou hast said, “I knew thee—I ordained thee—I sanctified thee,” and Thou has also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.

Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou wilt honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to distinguish the false friend from the true. Give me vision to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should become a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the face of the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet; not a promoter, not a religious manager—but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from the bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that I could make my life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I shall have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that it will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven. Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen.

-As quoted in A Passion For God: The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer by Lyle Dorsett (Chicago, IL; Moody, 2008), pp. 65-68.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

America, We’ve Been Warned

In a day where false alarms, exaggerated warnings and intentional scare tactics are used by a deceptive culture, it’s sometimes difficult to separate true warnings from deceptive false alarms.

So, asks the American Pastors Network (APN), how can Christians differentiate between the two?

Sam Rohrer, president of APN, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, and host of APN’s “Stand in the Gap” radio and television programming, says that Old Testament woes and warnings directed toward Israel have timely significance for America today.

“In the Bible,” Rohrer says, “the word ‘woe’ or warning is used nearly 100 times—98 to be exact,” he said. “The Old Testament prophets used it. Christ used it many times Himself. The word occurs in the Book of Revelation in final judgment. In nearly every case where a woe is given, the warning of judgment is certain, and God’s punishment imminent.”

As an example, Rohrer said, Noah warned the people for 100 years of a coming flood. The people heard, considered, rejected then died, illustrating that God gives His people warnings that they might live. Then in Isaiah Chapter 5, God’s prophet pronounced six specific warnings of imminent judgment against identified national sins.

“These woes were sobering, the sins specific and God’s judgment certain,” Rohrer said. “The message was to Israel, but the application is for America. When God warns, it’s real, and we’d better sit up and take notice.”

WOE #1: The sin of materialism. After God blessed the nation with security, wealth, houses and productive land, the people turned their back on Him. The result? God withheld His blessings, removed His protection, allowed rebellion within and threats of attack from without. Rohrer asks: Does this sound anything like America today?

WOE #2: The sin of hedonism. Consumed with an intoxicating addiction to alcohol, drugs, entertainment and partying, the nation willfully rejected God and the consequences of evil choices, as depicted in Isaiah 5:11.

WOE #3: The horrible practice of literally promoting sin and evil. As told in Isaiah 5:18, without regard for God or moral truth, the nation dreamed of evil, sinned without remorse and even belittled God by profaning His name and His truth.

WOE #4: The sin of moral relativism. Even more dangerous is when a nation redefines moral truth into moral evil, as outlined in Isaiah 5:20. This is accomplished by discarding the Ten Commandments as dangerous, killing the unborn through abortion, redefining marriage between two men or two women and much more. “Have these redefinitions been made in America?” Rohrer asks. “Yes—all have!”

WOE #5: The sin of arrogance and corruption. God hates pride because it embodies the sin of satanic defiance against God, Rohrer said, pointing to Isaiah 5:21. Through pride, mankind pronounces himself to be God, which results in the rejection of God and eternal life.

WOE #6: The sin of corrupted leadership. The prophet warned: Woe unto the political and military leaders who through addiction become bribed and incapable of sound judgment.

“What is the result of continually ignoring God’s true warnings?” Rohrer said. “Isaiah 5:24 says that God’s love will be turned to anger, His blessings will turn to judgment, murder and death of the people will increase, enemy nations will threaten to attack—suddenly and overwhelmingly—and all trusted defenses will fail. It happened to Israel. It will happen to America if we don’t soon change our ways. It’s past time to look to God, repent and beg His mercy.

“The similarities of the six woes in Isaiah Chapter 5 and how they relate to America today are astounding,” Rohrer concluded. “What will we do to heed God’s warnings? Will we claim ignorance and say we were never warned? While God is full of mercy, His justice will prevail. When God warns, we’d better listen because time eventually runs out. God has been warning America, but America doesn’t seem to care.”

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Showing Appreciation for Your Pastor

By: Dr. Gary Dull

Note: This article was originally posted on the Christian Post website HERE.

The month of October has been designated as “Pastor Appreciation Month,” and many local congregations will make efforts to show their pastors respect and love. In doing so, various acts of kindness will be conducted, such as having a special service to honor them, giving them nice gifts, sending them on a trip, giving them time off and a list of many good things that could go on and on.

Recently, I saw a list of 30 things a church can do to show appreciation to pastors, all of which were all very kind and good. Certainly, every pastor who is a recipient of these things will be appreciative of the gestures made for them, and it is good for local churches to do so. But showing appreciation to your pastor should be more than just honoring him in a special way once a year. Appreciating your pastor should be a continual attitude with regular actions to express that appreciation.

A study of the Bible gives not only suggestions, but also directives on how a church fellowship should show appreciation for its pastor. Those directives are many, but please allow me to share just a few. I would encourage you then to take some time to consider how you can put these directives to practice with the pastor of your church and in doing so you will be obeying God and honoring the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.      KNOW YOUR PASTOR. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 says, “Know them which LABOR among you, and are OVER you in the Lord, and ADMONISH you.” Without a doubt this verse describes the response to pastors who work spiritually to give godly direction to the flock. Biblically speaking, every congregant is to get to KNOW his pastor. That is, build a relationship with him so as to know his likes and dislikes, as well as his weaknesses and strengths in order to be able to pray for him and encourage him in a more effective way. The more you know your pastor the more you will appreciate his ministry and the more effective his ministry will be to you and your congregation.

2.      LOVE YOUR PASTOR. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 says, “Esteem them VERY highly in LOVE for their work’s sake.” Many pastors are lonely due to the weight of the spiritual leadership they bear. Often, that weight is so heavy, they cannot even share it with their spouse and close friends. Many pastors go to bed at night with tears in their eyes and hurts in their heart. By consistently loving your pastor through acts of kindness, you will be more of an encouragement than you can ever imagine, and he will have a greater motivation to serve the congregation to the glory of God.

3.      SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR. 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders (pastors) that rule well be counted worthy of DOUBLE HONOR, especially they who labor in the WORD and DOCTRINE.” The phrase “worthy of double honor” literally means “double remuneration.” In other words, pay your pastor well. Many pastors and their families suffer financially because the congregation does not see the need to pay them adequately. Such a situation does not honor God at all. As a member of your church, do what you can to encourage your fellowship to give your pastor a salary and additional benefits that will enable him to live comfortably so as not to be burdened or get distracted from the ministry to which God has called him. God will bless you if you do so.

4.      PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 says, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the WORD of the Lord may have FREE COURSE, and be GLORIFIED, even as it is with you, and that we may be DELIVERED from unreasonable and wicked men: for all have not faith.” There are many things for which a congregation can pray for their pastor. But that he may be able to preach the Word of God with power and be protected from them that would harm him is a very significant prayer to consistently take to the throne of grace on his behalf. Doing so will guarantee that your pastor will be much more effective in the pulpit and community ministry.

5.      FOLLOW YOUR PASTOR. Hebrews 13:7 says, “REMEMBER them that have the rule (spiritual) over you, who have SPOKEN unto you the word of God: whose FAITH FOLLOW, considering of their conduct.” Pastors who offer genuine spiritual ministry, who preach the Word of God clearly and who manifest biblical faith are to be followed without resistance or rebellion by each member of the congregation. Those who refuse to do so will answer to the Lord and according to Hebrews 13:17, that will be “unprofitable” for them when they stand before the Lord. Churches do not hire their pastors. It is the Lord Jesus Who places pastors in church pulpits. The congregation simply recognizes God’s call to the local assembly as the under-shepherd of Jesus Christ to equip and lead the church into more effective and fruitful Christian service. The congregant who follows the faith of his pastor will be blessed by God on earth will be rewarded by God in heaven and encouraged by his pastor in the church.

Indeed, there are many things I could add to the list of how to show appreciation to pastors. But perhaps the points I have given will be something for you to consider, not only in October, but all 12 months of the year. Because each of the above principles is truly biblical, those who practice them will be truly blessed by God, and in the long run, their pastor will be a more effective shepherd in the local flock where the Lord places him, resulting in the edification of the believers, the strengthening of the church and glory to Almighty God.

Gary Dull is executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, board member of the American Pastors Network and co-host of APN’s “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program. He pastors Faith Baptist Church of Altoona.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash HERE.

What Is the Biblical Duty of Government Leaders?

As politics take over the majority of news headlines, more Americans may be asking themselves: What is the role of our national leaders?

Leaders at the American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, address this question frequently. In fact, APN president and host Sam Rohrer recently published a new editorial for The Christian Post, where he offers biblical insight to the roles and responsibilities of America’s leaders and elected officials.

“According to the Bible, those who serve in government are ministers of God,” Rohrer said. “Many Americans and even American Christians have never considered that distinction and prefer to oppose or avoid political leaders altogether. However, God desires that we encourage governing leaders to serve Him and the people they lead. Romans 13:4 notes, ‘He is God’s minister—or servant—to you for good.’ Therefore, our leaders and officials are to protect those who do what’s morally right, as well as to bring justice against those who do what’s morally wrong. That’s why the highest duty of governing involves creating and implementing laws to enact justice and to maintain peace throughout the land.”

Because the Bible calls governing leaders “ministers” or “servants,” they are to serve both God and the citizens, Rohrer also noted. But what does this mean in today’s culture? Political leaders are to be, to the people they represent, protectors of righteousness and defenders of truth. The word “minister” in Romans 13:6 literally means to be a leader in worship to God. Like King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon said after being forced by God to his knees in submission, “I do extol and recognize the God of heaven who is able to raise up and bring down those He will.”

“In other words,” Rohrer said, “according to God’s plan, all politicians possess the distinct obligation to live in the fear of God and cause people to look to God who created life, liberty and all natural rights. Our political leaders should sense a duty to protect the people they serve. And those who lead our nation need our support when they work to protect its citizens. Just imagine if those in office today would acknowledge that God is Supreme and would lead our nation to also acknowledge the God of heaven.”

Additionally, how many Christians are aware that the Bible speaks of political leaders as conduits of truth and justice?

“In our culture,” Rohrer continued, “politicians are often rightly viewed with skepticism and criticism at every turn, yet the Bible says they are ‘sent by God’ to punish lawbreakers and encourage righteousness. In 1 Peter 2, governing leaders are defined as people who should enforce laws against criminals and recognize honorable citizens. As believers, we’re commanded to live as law-abiding citizens as part of God’s will for our lives. Despite our ‘resistance’ culture that often seeks to undermine government and oppose authority, God calls us to consciously live out His principles and ‘silence the ignorance of foolish men.’ We are to submit to governing authorities. As Peter notes in 1 Peter 2:17: ‘Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.’”

Finally, Rohrer concluded, God has provided American citizens the privilege to be involved in the political process.

“Whether through voting, expressing our values or even running for elected office, our liberty offers many ways to participate,” he said. “How would our nation be different if all believers across our nation prayed daily for our leaders, lived godly values and participated in the process of government in a greater way? We would see the Lord bless our nation and bring times of refreshing to our land.”

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

American Pastors Network Features Radio Guest Who Shares How Christ Freed Him from Sexual Bondage

The American Pastors Network (APN) recently welcomed a guest to its popular daily, live, one-hour radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” who shared the true story of his experience in the gay lifestyle, the emotional ups and downs of his decision as an adolescent growing up in a Christian home with a Baptist pastor father, the realities and horrors of the sexual bondage he experienced in the homosexual lifestyle and the hope he ultimately found in a new life of spiritual freedom because of Jesus Christ.

APN President and radio host Sam Rohrer recently spoke with George Carneal, author of “From Queer to Christ: My Journey into the Light” on a “Stand in the Gap Today” program titled “From Sexual Bondage to Spiritual Freedom.”

“We were honored to hear and help share the gripping testimony and story of the hope of a man caught in the bondage of homosexuality and the gay lifestyle,” Rohrer said on the program.

Rohrer also pointed to studies that show Americans’ attitudes about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and gender are changing. According to Pew Research Center polling “in 2004, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a margin of 60% to 31%. Support for same-sex marriage has steadily grown over the past 15 years. And today, support for same-sex marriage remains near its highest point since Pew Research Center began polling on this issue. Based on polling in 2019, a majority of Americans (61%) support same-sex marriage, while 31% oppose it.”

“The public push to also embrace transgenderism and the objectives of the LGBTQ lobby for the American culture to embrace as fully equal the homosexual and lesbian life style choices has divided our nation, driven public policy and even shaped the preaching on matters of marriage and human sexuality in the pulpits of America,” Rohrer said. “In reality, most people are afraid to discuss this very real issue, don’t know how to discuss this matter or the implications of it, or don’t understand it. Therefore, they are more driven by media interpretations than real life-experiences and what God says about sexuality and gender. We hope this program featuring George Carneal will give true hope and freedom to men and women caught up in the gay lifestyle.”

On the show, Rohrer and Carneal discussed that Carneal knew what the Bible says about God’s design for marriage and human sexuality in the framework of male and female. He, however, questioned God’s model and decided to leave home and enter the gay lifestyle. Ultimately, after 25 years—part of that time as a male

prostitute—Carneal discovered that the gay lifestyle is not the enlightened lifestyle that the media, Hollywood and the politically correct depict.

“The cultural pull into the gay lifestyle, the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that marriage between two men or two women was equal to the marriage between one man and one woman, and the attempt to make American culture believe that there are not two genders—male and female, but a range of genders one could choose or rulings that one can change the gender on their birth certificate—has brought confusion at worst and great deception more likely into the minds of particularly young people and the supposed freedom and glamor of the gay lifestyle,” Rohrer said.

“This culture has seemed to pull out all the stops to promote the gay lifestyle and the full range of LGBTQ agenda goals,” he added. “This includes policies that seek a full equivalency and equal embracing of the homosexual agenda with God’s model for marriage and human sexuality, lawsuits being filed against businesses, schools and others who embrace God’s model, laws declaring it illegal for pastors to preach what the Bible says and for Christian counselors to counsel people caught in the gay lifestyle about how to come to freedom in Christ. Parents, grandparents, the public and even pastors are often caught with how to respond and what to say.”

Rohrer and Carneal also discussed what parents and grandparents can do if they have a child who has already engaged in a gay lifestyle, as well as how they can address the fact that young children are being subjected to the notion that it is not only possible but acceptable to choose one’s gender.

Listen to the “Stand in the Gap” program with guest George Carneal here or view a transcript here.

Photo by Chris Johnson on Unsplash

American Pastors Network Focuses on Knowing—and Embracing—God’s View of the Environment

At this week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York City, hundreds of world leaders will come together to focus on pressing global topics, and the environment and climate change will be key topics of discussion.

In fact, today at the UNGA, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a summit to address the “global climate emergency.” The Summit will seek to “spark the transformation that is urgently needed and propel action that will benefit everyone.”

The American Pastors Network (APN), the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, also discussed the environment and climate change earlier this summer on the APN television program, “Stand in the Gap,” which reaches millions of households on several networks.

For the program titled “Embracing the Environment—God’s Way,” APN President and host Sam Rohrer and co-host and millennial pastor Isaac Crockett focused on the overall issue of “the environment and our relationship to it,” while also addressing two core problems—that the contemporary view of the environment has become fatalistic and that God’s purpose and plan for the environment has been lost or rejected.

“God’s Word gives great clarity and direction on every issue we can possibly consider in our world today,” Rohrer said on the show. “It seems as though we’ve entered a ‘twilight zone’ in America, where the more outrageous the claims about God, life and the environment, the more attention one gets and the more enlightened one seems to be. But this is not necessarily new. In the 1800s, scientific thought leaders like Charles Darwin made popular the view that there is no God, no creation and no sacredness to life, therefore, no purpose in living—all accident and chance. Then around the same time, philosopher, cultural critic and thought leader Friedrich Nietzsche declared that we had killed God—at least in the minds of the people—therefore, there was no need to feel guilty or accountable to God. We could live as we wanted and do as we wished.

“Then came economist and socialist revolutionary thought leader Karl Marx, who said that we will dethrone God,” Rohrer continued. “Combining his atheistic view of God with the thoughts of Darwin, Nietzsche, Georg Hegel and Sigmund Freud put into motion an anti-God plan to collapse America and the Western world. By the mid-20th century, these combined thoughts devolved to the point where judicial thought leaders, including those on the U.S. Supreme Court, arrogantly declared that babies in the womb are not people with sacred lives and, therefore, were dispensable and legal to be murdered at will.”

Later, Rohrer added, came political opportunists such as Al Gore, who cited selected climate “experts” with worldviews similar to these previous thought leaders and predicted the polar ice caps would melt by 2013 due to global warming caused by burning fossil fuels, resulting in a threat to all civilization.

“Not to be outdone and building on this worldview espoused by these previous thought leaders, freshman New York politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went even further in declaring that the world will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change—in effect, starting a countdown clock for life as we know it,” Rohrer continued. “Because certain enlightened individuals make outrageously false claims, they intentionally influenced our culture and our world—and not for the good. So what can we do? Is there a response? Is the godless view of life and the environment that produces nothing but fear to be believed? Or is there a better and truthful way?

“The Bible holds the answers for all issues of life and living,” Rohrer further stated. “God is a god of design and purpose—predictable, uniform and accountability-driven. Christians believe that God established the standards for truth and gave us the guidelines for how mankind should relate to all creation with a promise of blessing and freedom, but only if we follow His guidelines—and this includes the environment.”

According to Rohrer, the modern cultural view of the environment, which is largely fear-driven, leaves out God, His purposes and mankind’s duty toward the environment.

“When Al Gore screams global warming and population annihilation and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez goes further by declaring a moratorium on Earth in 12 years and that cows, planes and more should be banned, what is the logical outcome of these recommendations?” Rohrer added. “And what is the likely motivation of these statements? When the Gores and the AOCs make such statements, seeking to scare all who listen and citing ‘experts’ rather than truth as defined by God, total conflict is the result, with both sides rejecting each other. God’s view of the environment and his stewardship principles could actually address some of the fears of those environmentalists who either intentionally leave out God altogether or perhaps have never heard of God’s superior plan at all.”

Watch the full program here.

Today’s U.N. Climate Summit will center on the theme, “Climate Action Summit 2019: A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.” According to the U.N., “The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.” This past weekend, the UNGA also included a Youth Climate Summit.

Photo by Gustavo Quepón on Unsplash

Has the Substance of the Constitution Been Lost?

APN NEWS UPDATE:

Sept. 17, marks Constitution Day—a time when Americans should look back on the history of the founding document to the nation.

But many, have forgotten what the Constitution means to the fabric of America.

Last week on the daily and popular APN radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” heard on several hundred stations nationwide, APN President and host Sam Rohrer outlined the importance of knowing—and keeping—the Constitution.

“This Tuesday, we will mark 232 years since the U.S. Constitution was signed in Independence Hall in Philadelphia,” Rohrer said during the program. “This meeting of delegates was but one part of a miraculous birth of a new nation. Over time, the details, the substance of this gathering and the contents of this document, recognized by many as the most inspiring, enduring and life-changing document outside the Bible, have been lost, ignored or rewritten. Now the very essence of this document is under attack by every anti-God and anti-freedom ideology from Marxism, socialism, communism to Islam. All Americans must step back, focus on the essentials and reacquaint themselves with the history of our Constitution—and celebrate it.”

On September 17, 1787, a group of men gathered in a closed meeting room to sign the greatest vision of human freedom in history. Built upon the provisions and vision of divine rights from a Creator God and a submission to God as the Great Judge of the Universe in the Declaration of Independence, signed by 56 in 1776, it was Benjamin Franklin, who at 81 years old, made the motion to sign the guarantor of these rights in a document called the U.S. Constitution.

Rohrer informed radio listeners that George Washington presided over this convention, which featured many of the great minds of the day—Franklin, James Madison, James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton and the most important regional leaders in the United States. Notably absent in this final signing meeting were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and John Hancock, among others. The group met to agree how the Constitution would be sent to the Confederation Congress to start the ratification process with the states.

According to James Madison’s notes, the Constitution was first read to the group, there was some debate, and Benjamin Franklin signed the document last, making it official. Upon adoption, the gathering declared a final sini die session, concluding its work and handing over the document to future generations with the obligation to protect, defend and support the provisions of this great guarantor of God-given rights and becoming the model to the world.

“In a letter to Charles Yancey, Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be,’” Rohrer noted. “This quote was in relation to the observation that no nation can remain free if the citizens don’t know the basis of freedom—and that true civil freedom comes from God. Last year, a survey of 2,000 adults found that most Americans lack basic knowledge of what rights are specifically protected in the Bill of Rights. As a matter of fact, just 26 percent even know how many amendments make up the Bill of Rights. Another astounding finding was that about half of those surveyed believed ‘liberty’ and the ‘pursuit of happiness’ are included in the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment; these are actually part of the Declaration of Independence.

 

“So based on these facts, we are not in a good position to keep our freedom in America,” Rohrer added. “We are ignorant. The U.S. Constitution did not automatically appear in one day, nor has it remained the same until this day. While under a Judeo-Christian worldview, truth is unchanging, comes from God, is totally embodied within the character and nature of God, and is manifested in Jesus Christ. The development of human laws has been a progression. The U.S. was, in reality, a ‘holy experiment in self-government under God,’ according to Pennsylvania’s William Penn and described in his Frame of Government of 1682.”

“There is hardly one framework of government in the world so poorly designed by its founders that, in good hands, would not function well enough, and the history of the Romans and Jewish states tells us that even with the best framework of government, that in bad hands can do nothing good or great,” Penn had said. That submission to God’s Divine law is necessary for both the citizens and those in authority for freedom to endure.

“It is the broad ignorance or rejection of these simple observations that so imperils freedom in America today,” Rohrer added. “Like all truth—be it divine moral law, as recorded in the Bible, or the highest civil law, our Constitutions, which are based on biblical principles—the documents themselves can neither force themselves on others or defend themselves. That responsibility to know and defend God’s truth and the corresponding civil truth is the duty of every person, regardless of their station in life. That duty to defend and use the truth of God’s Word, for example, is a choice of every person, every parent, every pastor, every politician. The duty to defend and advance the principles of freedom as it relates to our republic is the duty of every member of government, which is why the oath of office exists. But there is more. After the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 1787, Ben Franklin stated that future Americans had been given ‘a republic—if you can keep it.’ Every American must know what that means and how, indeed, we do ‘keep it.’”

For the program marking Constitution Day, “Stand in the Gap Today” hosts were joined by David New, constitutional attorney, author, speaker. Listen to the program here.

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash