Prayer Targets: Dr. Michael Brown; Gorsuch Vote; NC HB2; Obamacare Repeal; Daleiden; Pence Wisdom; NDP+Call2Fall
April 05, 2017
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine... And they shall turn away their ears from the truth… (2 Tim 4:1-4)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Michael Brown is a revivalist, author, teacher, and radio host. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a visiting professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Fuller Theological Seminary, and The King’s Seminary. These excerpts are from a recent article, “Fear in the Christian Pulpit.”
Even if Donald Trump is successful in removing the restraints of the 1954 Johnson Amendment, one must wonder if pastors will begin preaching the truth. We have created a no-cost, pop-gospel, forgetting that a gospel that costs nothing saves no one and is not a gospel at all.
If President Trump succeeds in removing the oppressive Johnson Amendment, which limits freedom of speech from the pulpits, will Christian leaders be more outspoken on controversial moral, cultural, and political issues? I have my doubts, since I don’t believe it is the Johnson Amendment that has muzzled preachers across America.
I believe it is the fear of man that has muzzled us and it is our desire to be affirmed by the world that has silenced us. Until we repent of these sinful, carnal attitudes, our tongues will not be loosed. We have been paralyzed from the inside. The removal of outward hindrances will not set us free within.
Let’s be honest. The Johnson Amendment, as wrong as it is, is quite limited in its scope, primarily prohibiting “certain tax-exempt organizations from endorsing and opposing political candidates.”
It does not prohibit pastors from speaking out against political corruption, from speaking out against LGBT activism, from speaking out against abortion, nor against a host of other moral and cultural issues! Yet it is here that we have seriously failed our people... these are the very issues so many of us studiously avoid...
In 2014, George Barna discussed the results of his latest poll during an interview on American Family Radio. He explained that, “What we’re finding is that when we ask [pastors] about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, ‘Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues.’ Then we ask them: ‘Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?’ and the numbers drop... to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will, speak to it.”
What, exactly, prevents them from addressing controversial issues from the pulpit, including, “societal, moral and political issues”? According to Barna, “Attendance, giving, number of programs, number of staff, and square footage... What I’m suggesting is [those pastors] won’t probably get involved in politics because it’s very controversial. Controversy keeps people from being in the seats, controversy keeps people from giving money, from attending programs.”
[In] all too many cases... We have compromised for the sake of comfort and convenience. We have found a way to bypass the cross and its shame. We have created a no-cost, pop-gospel, forgetting that a gospel that costs nothing saves no one and is not a gospel at all.
The irony of all this is that Barna’s survey also indicated that the clear majority of Christians surveyed (90%) wanted their pastors to address difficult moral and cultural issues. This is the world they live in and these are the problems they confront, right down to their kids in nursery school. They expect their pastors to help them sort these things out based on scripture, and they are frustrated and grieved when the leaders they look to are not there when they need them.
The fear of man comes in many shapes and sizes, but the expression of it will always be the same: You will not do what you know is right because you fear the negative consequences.
That is a fear that must be broken, and it is only the Lord – not Donald Trump – who can help us break it. Will we rise to the occasion, when society needs us the most, or we will cower behind our cheap excuses? It’s time for the lion to roar.
Many thousands of Christians refused to bow to political and religious correctness under the Roman Empire and died a martyr’s death. Millions of Christians and Jews died for their faith in the 20th century: Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, and Mao’s China. This is still happening in the Middle East and elsewhere today. Pray for and sign petitions to preserve America’s “First Freedom” in our own land today – Ask Congress to Repeal the Johnson Amendment; Ask President Trump to sign a Religious Liberty Executive Order. Dr, Brown will be speaking at this year’s Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing. Pray for this important event. Urge your pastor to attend. Better still, offer to send him!
Gorsuch Confirmation Vote – Many Christians were very uncertain of Donald Trump last November, but 81 percent of evangelical voters supported him with their vote. Exit polls showed their top concern was for the U.S. Supreme Court. They could not conceive of a Court even more liberal than those that gave us abortion, same-sex marriage, and abortion-filled Obamacare. Trump did not disappoint. His pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch, has the right education, temperament, experience, philosophy, and record to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat and to keep the balance of the Court’s status quo.
On a party-line vote Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent the nomination to the Senate Floor for an up or down vote. Democrats announced that they had the 41 votes necessary to sustain a filibuster. But Majority Leader McConnell has, on several occasions, stated confidently that Gorsuch will be on the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday. He is signaling that he will use the “nuclear option,” a parliamentary procedure that allows the U.S. Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority of 51 votes. After the precedent is changed, a vote to confirm will proceed, and Gorsuch will be confirmed. All 52 Republicans and at least 3 Democrats are expected to vote for confirmation.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) changed precedent for presidential appointments and lower court nominees to require only 51 votes for confirmation, so changing the precedent is not without precedent. But some members of both parties see this as a sad precedent that will make the selection of judges all-the-more political and add to the growing rancor we have seen in the political environment in recent years. Mitch McConnell has signaled that he will invoke the “nuclear option” by repeatedly declaring publicly that “On Friday, Neil Gorsuch will be on the Supreme Court” (see History, Precedent; Nuclear Option; Dems Could Sustain Filibuster; Evangelical Vote for Court, Life; Dems Force GOP Hand; McConnell: By Friday!; Gorsuch’s Pro-Life Promise; Answered Tough Questions with Ease).
- Thank God that decent jurists like Judge Neil Gorsuch can be found amid today’s backslidden culture. Ask God for wisdom for our president that he will follow Gorsuch with one or more strong constitutional conservative nominees, who will be used by God to restore fidelity to the Constitution as it applies to religious liberty, life, family, churches, governments, private institutions, and every individual in our land. May this future Court be used by God to restore justice and common sense to our culture. May President Trump and the Senate fill our lower federal courts with God-fearing judges who will guarantee a wide selection of such judges for future high courts.(Gen 6:5-8; Ex 18:21; Josh 22:25-30; 2 Sam 23:2-4; 1 Kgs 3:6-12; 1 Chr 18:14; 2 Chr 9:8; 1 Cor 4:2)
Watchmen on the Wall – This premiere event for lead pastors only takes place at one of Washington’s fine hotels just three blocks from the Capitol. It begins with an early evening reception on Wednesday, May 24th and a guided spiritual heritage tour of the Capitol and Family Research Council. Thursday morning begins with prayer and worship and continues with addresses by great American leaders in church and state with experience in the trenches. We are in a great cultural war that will determine whether the Christian foundations of our nation can be preserved or whether we fling our nation headlong into a cultural abyss where darkness reigns over our children and grandchildren should the Lord tarry. Your pastor will find the presence of God, the ministry of the Word, and understanding and wisdom for their own families and churches that they will not find in the vast majority of conferences and events they attend. Most pastors who attend WOTW testify that it was an eye-opening, life-changing experience. And many pastors have brought that life-change back to their homes, ministries, and churches. Visit the WOTW website to see who will be speaking this year, the schedule, and more. Make sure your pastor registers soon as space is limited.
Finally, update your prayer list to include: 1) The North Carolina legislature succumbed to pressure from the NCAA and other groups and produced a compromise law to replace HB2, the first commonsense state law protecting the privacy of women and girls in state and school showers, dressing rooms, and bathrooms, but LGBT activists are not satisfied. The Texas House will hopefully soon vote on SB 6, a bill very much like NC’s HB2. 2) David Daleiden, the video journalist who exposed Planned Parenthood’s wholesale aborted baby parts business, faces 15 felony charges for privacy violations by the state of California for his undercover exposés. 3) Despite legislative setbacks, FRC is working with the administration and Congress to pass a workable bill to repeal and replace Obamacare with a bill that will reduce the cost of health care for Americans – based upon free market principles – while keeping abortion out of the mix. 4) The liberal flack over V.P. Mike Pence’s practice of not dining with women other than his wife, alone. 5) The National Day of Prayer is just a month away and Call2Fall just two months beyond. As the Barna report (featured last week) and other studies have shown, only a tiny number of those who profess faith in Christ are involved in active evangelism, efforts to impact our culture for righteousness or extraordinary prayer. Periodic days of united, nationwide prayer and repentance point us back to God and the revival we need in the church, if awakening is to come to America. Thank you for praying with us!