Last night on TV Glenn interviewed Pastor Todd Wagner, who recently did a sermon series called ‘Declaration’ at his church in Dallas, Texas. The founding fathers didn’t just choose to be free, they made a bold declaration and Wagner’s message really resonated with Glenn.
Pastor Wagner: And as any loving father wants, He just keeps saying hey, choose me, come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I’ll give you rest. So one of the things that I just shared, you know, with our body as we look back in history, if you go from Rome to Zimbabwe, it’s never, ever worked for a country to pay its debts by running the printing press. It’s always led to disaster.
Pastor Wagner: I introduced them to a book written by a Harvard economist and a Virginia economist called This Time It’s Different, and what they did is they studied civilization after civilization, and every single one of them fell into the this-time-it’s-different fallacy.
Glenn: We’re hearing it now.
Pastor Wagner: Yeah, we’re hearing it now.
Glenn: The world needs us. China needs us. They’ll never abandon us. This time it’s different.
Pastor Wagner: Right. We’re not an isolated nation. There’s a world economy. And what I’m going to tell you is there are certain laws that are fixed and immutable, and this time is not different. Our own government accountability, okay, the GAO, has said this is unsustainable, and our Congress, our executive branch, didn’t respond to this.
Glenn: Made it worse.
Pastor Wagner: They made it worse, and so they came back, and they defined unsustainable. They said this can’t continue, as if they needed to know what unsustainable meant. And so here’s what I would say, what is a pastor doing talking about the economy, right? Because some guys go I want to be about the gospel. I do too, but the gospel has legs. The love of Christ, what God cares about…economy just means house administration. That’s what it means, this is the way you should run your house, okay? And it’s not going to go well for you.
The borrower is the lender’s slave, and God is a person that rescues us from slavery and bondage to the way that seems right to us but in the end leads to death. And so in the economy one, I just said look, gang, this is what’s going on, and by the way, we can’t get mad at Washington. We are responsible for Washington.
This is a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and I really meant, I want you guys to know, Glenn, I want you to know, I made the case and I make the case all the time that I think the greatest evil in America is not the radical left. It’s not the ultraconservative right. It’s not the abortion industry. It’s not the, you know, people that are trying to redefine marriage.
I really believe the greatest evil in America are the people that have been given the truth that say they know the truth that are supposed to be keepers of the truth that are not faithfully declaring that truth to others, okay?
Glenn: See why I like this guy?
Pastor Wagner: And so we’ve got to quit throwing stones at everybody else and just gotta go, so I’ve told my body this again and again. You want change? Everybody wants to change the world, but nobody wants to change themself, and so we have just continually said what we’ve got to do is draw a circle around ourself and change everything in it, and then as we experience the blessing and the prosperity of living ourselves wisely—
Glenn: The best missionary is one that lives it.
Pastor Wagner: Amen.
Glenn: There’s a great letter we have in the library to George Washington from Aaron Burr. He had just won a battle, got shot in the head, and he writes two lines. He says the fort and the garrison is ours, General. Your men behaved like men determined to be free. That’s why we’re missing it, because we’re not living it. We’re not determined to be free. If we were determined to be free, we would be looking for those things that free us. What frees us? Not having debt frees you. Once you have debt, you’re a slave to the bank or to the lender or to whoever. You’re a slave.
Pastor Wagner: And so one of the things that I would just say to folks because they might go Todd…Glenn, why do you have a pastor on there, right? Why do you have a guy who calls himself an evangelical Christian? You come from a Mormon expression. And there’s so much that we have in common about our desire for truth.
Glenn: And a lot I disagree with you on.
Pastor Wagner: Yeah, and a lot we disagree with each other on, but we love each other, right? Because, you know, love without truth is not love, and truth that isn’t loving is not going to be heard, and that’s one of the things I really appreciate about you. I think you’ve even said hey, I’m learning to be a little bit maybe even kinder about the way that I go about it. That’s my deal my wife would tell me, Todd, you need to learn. That tone helps you with me, right?
Pastor Wagner: And there’s a great quote by a guy named Frederick Faber that was an Anglican gentleman, actually converted to Catholicism in England. He said this, there was a quote when I read it, it just stopped me in my track, and he said kindness has converted more sinners then eloquence, learning, and I even scribbled it down because sometimes I quote…than zeal, eloquence, or learning. And you know what—
Glenn: It’s true.
Pastor Wagner: We try to be zealous for what we believe. We try and learn a lot and be eloquent, but you know what, man, kindness, the Lord leads us to—.
Glenn: The protesters that were on the streets last night, I agree with them last night in New York on what happened. That cop acted wrong. I think that was manslaughter. Now, I wasn’t in with the grand jury, so I don’t know, but it looked manslaughter to me. But they were marching in the streets with signs that said “F” this tree, and they were talking about the lighting of the Rockefeller tree. That’s not going to get anybody on your side. What are you doing?
Pastor Wagner: No.
Glenn: If instead you would have been kind and humble, and you would’ve locked arms, and you would’ve sang Christmas carols, and you would’ve done it, yes, in the middle of the street, the people who were there for the tree would’ve said what’s going on here? What’s going on? And you would listen to them. But we are so full of rage and anger right now, everything that is antichrist, everything.
Pastor Wagner: I’ll tell you why. How much time do we have in this segment?
Glenn: How much time do we have left? Two minutes?
Pastor Wagner: All right, let me in two minutes tell you why I think that we’re filled with rage. I think it’s because of the leaders that we’re choosing, and we’re not choosing leaders that are helping us focus on the thing that ultimately sets us free. And so specifically what used to really affect our country was this thing called Social Darwinism, this idea that individuals are not as good as other individuals because they’re not as fit as us, and so we can hold them down and oppress them.
But what has really started to happen in our society today is more defined by the philosophy, the world view, and not Judeo-Christian ethic, okay, which would say let’s pursue righteousness, peace, love and forgiveness and reconciliation together, but I would tell you it’s more culturally Marxist.
Now, what’s that mean? Marxists always want to push you into classes. It’s going to say let’s separate these people by class, by gender, by race, by sexual preference, and then let’s take you, the persecuted minority, and I will be your advocate. I’m going to get my power by appealing to your plight, and I frankly am going to maintain my power by keeping your plight the issue. And what it does is it pits us all against one another, and it makes us concerned about our own little small area, and it keeps us from working together toward the one thing we all need, which is righteousness, truth, peace, love.
Glenn: How did your church…did you have anybody walk out when you say these things?
Pastor Wagner: No. No. Here’s the thing, I’ve never done it in a series before, but I’m teaching this all the time because I’m teaching God’s word, okay?
Glenn: How’s the health of your church?
Pastor Wagner: Well, I hope it’s really healthy. You know, every year, one of the ways that we keep our church healthy is every year our membership goes to zero. So every December or January, we just say who’s still in for this? Who wants to be about believing in Christ, belonging to his body, being trained in truth, and being strong in life with ministry and worship? And if you don’t, we’re not going to love you more, okay? We’re not going to say you’re going to hell. We’re going to say you’re just saying I’m not going to pursue heaven with you anymore, okay? And so then what do we do? We do what the Scripture says we should do when a person is like that. We love them and call them to repentance.
Glenn: Most people will not say these things because they’re afraid that they’re going to lose their membership or whatever, and I think this is critical for people to say.
Pastor Wagner: Here’s what I would say to my pastor friends, here’s what I would say to leaders in general, here’s what I would say to politicians, we don’t need politicians. We need statesmen, people that are concerned for the state, not keeping himself in office. That’s their job. Here’s what I would say to a pastor, you’re not going to lose your people if you teach truth; you’re going to set them free. That’s not my idea. That’s God’s. Truth sets people free.
And when political correctness replaces theological soundness, what you’re going to have is the greatest problem in America, that the place that people should go to have a revolution from darkness to life is the one place they go to get put to sleep and where the rest of the world looks at them and goes I don’t know what the solution is, but it must not be God, because that church over there, I don’t see anything in there that’s attractive to me.
Glenn: Okay, we’ll come back. I want to talk to you a little bit about immigration and if we have time maybe a little bit of Ferguson and what your thoughts are on Ferguson.
Pastor Wagner: Yeah, I’d be happy to.
Glenn: I will tell you, America, that I did call him America’s pastor earlier. And Billy Graham gave me a book, and it was Billy Graham, America’s pastor. I saw that cover, and I thought who has the guts to put that on a title of their book?
Pastor Wagner: I don’t.
Glenn: Yeah, except for Billy Graham, and Billy Graham was right for doing it. There is a time for a new calling, and I don’t know who the Lord is going to call, but I think you should hear this man’s words. We’ll be back in just a minute.