Pastor Michael Youssef: Rise of the "feel-good" gospel shows church leaders too comfortable

Glenn predicts that when it comes time for congregations to stand up for fundamental principles, half the members will walk out and never look back. Too many church leaders focus on making feel really good about themselves, with a smile and a rock band thrown in for good measure. Faith has been replaced with entertainment. Pastor Michael Youssef, who escaped an oppressive Egypt, joined Glenn to discuss this growing problem in churches across the country and the growing crisis in the Middle East.

Below is a transcript of this segment:

Glenn: I want to introduce you to a pastor and an author, the author of a book called Jesus, Jihad, and Peace. His name is Michael Youssef. How are you, sir?

Michael: Wonderful. Thank you for having me.

Glenn: It is good to have you here.

Michael : Good to be here.

Glenn: You’re not mincing any words on what is happening in the world, and thank God, because we have very few pastors who are actually standing up for what’s happening in the Middle East, and we need more of them.

Michael: And in this country.

Glenn: Yeah. Let’s start with the Middle East. I told a story on the air today. ISIS this last weekend crucified two children for not following Ramadan. They were caught eating, and so they crucified them and just like in the biblical times put their crime up above their head. I mean, it’s amazing. Nobody seems to care. Why? What’s happened to our Christian heart?

Michael: What happened to us in the West in general—just to back up, I escaped from Egypt back in the 60s under Nasser and experienced first-hand persecution. That’s why I escaped.

Glenn: Wait. Can you explain? Because people don’t have any concept of what’s coming. We say Christians, you’re going to lose your right to conscience. They have no idea what that means. Can you explain a little, what does that mean?

Michael: And I’ve been saying this for 35 years, and people would say to me it’s not going to happen America. We have the Bill of Rights.

Glenn: It’s coming.

Michael: And I’ve written and I’ve written and I’ve spoken. I cannot imagine my seventh soon to be eighth grandchildren going to grow up in this culture where I escaped to come to America for freedom. Now, we’re losing our freedom completely. The Christians, and I am pointing the finger at me as a pastor of a very large church, a global ministry leading the way, 195 countries, radio and television.

Glenn: Wow, good for you.

Michael: So I am pointing the finger, but we the pastors have grown comfortable. We valued our comfort and our love for sports and our financial security over and above the truth. In the end, in all these rulings that are coming down the pike, the one that just came and the ones that are coming are basically making us less and less conscious of the fact that the truth matters. So, they take words out of their context such as equality and justice and love wins, they blow them around. They don’t mean anything because the truth is the victim here.

Glenn: And what is the truth?

Michael: The truth is what is the absolute truth which is declared by God. God is the one who created a man and a woman to anatomically fit, and He said this is it, this is my will for humanity. This is my design for humanity.

Glenn: You’ve seen oppression in the Middle East, so you know what it looks like. Americans don’t. Are you seeing the signs that people like you with your church are going to come under oppression?

Michael: I have no doubt. I’ve been saying this for 28 years.

Glenn: Right. And how many of the churches do you think will fold? How many churches do you think will say you know what, just go along?

Michael: Right. If you can’t fight them, join them.

Glenn: Yes.

Michael: That’s more common than you realize. It started in the mainline denominations, and I used to belong to one. Started in the mainline denominations and is now creeping into the evangelical church. There was a time when the word evangelical meant something, meant eu and angelion, the gospel that is the truth that I am the way, the truth, and the life. That is the gospel that Jesus died for all so whoever comes to him shall be saved. That has gone by the wayside. Now, we’ve got a prosperity gospel. We’ve got a feel-good gospel. We’ve got all kinds of stuff that has nothing to do with Christianity. It’s a pseudo-Christianity. That’s why you asked me how many will fold, I think they’re already folding. So many of them already folded, and that breaks my heart.

Glenn: I was talking to a leader of a church, a very large church, and he said he thought 50% of congregants of every faith will walk out the door because it’s going to get too hard. It’s going to get hard. Okay, so I had a caller today—I want to bring it back to the Middle East. I had a caller today who said to me Glenn, what do I do? Now, we’re doing an event on 8/28. We’re trying to just wake up our churches first and get our churches online, but you’ve been over there. What do we do? What’s the best thing an American can do right now with ISIS? Because the government is not doing anything.

Michael: Now, can I tell you something very quickly that has happened in Egypt? I just came back from there three weeks ago. I was in some of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. Now, I used to go every year and preach, but since the uprising, I have not been back.

Glenn: Sisi is good.

Michael: He was a wonderful guy. I’m looking forward to meeting him later this year.

Glenn: I think he is the guy that so many people have prayed for, and we’ve abandoned him.

Michael: That’s exactly right. For 24/7 were prayer meetings all over Egypt, across denominational lines. Two o’clock in the morning, you get to a church, people were crying. This is under Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president. People began to experience the pain, and I’m wondering when will we in America get to that point where we cry to God 24/7? And as a result, God answered their prayers, and 33 million people came to the streets of all the 27 provinces, not just in Cairo, but it’s all over, 33 million. BBC said never in human history have that many people out in the streets in one night. God raised up Sisi. I’m convinced of that. He’s a good man. I watch his speeches. They’re very inspiring speeches. He loves everybody. He loves the Christians, and he loves the Jews. He loves everybody. Now, I’m praying for his safety, of course.

Glenn: Yes.

Michael: We all need to pray for his safety. But I’m wondering, will it get to that point when we’re really economically on our knees like they did under the Muslim Brotherhood and the Christians began to cry? As a result, churches are continuing to pray. God is bringing hundreds of thousands of people to Christ who were not Christians.

Glenn: Yeah. I think our biggest problem, and it’s always—you know, the Bible always tells the same story over and over again. It’s amazing, you read the Bible, and you’re like these people are so stupid. Then you look at it, and you really start to think, and you’re like holy cow, it’s us. The biggest problem is humility and until your humbled. I think the Lord’s been kicking us in the head over and over and over again. It’s getting worse and worse and worse, and I think when this strife really happens, when the economic side falls apart, people are not going to know what hit them.

Michael: No, because that’s our God now, and when our God is taken away from us, and it’s the same thing with the people of Israel. In the Book of Judges, everybody was doing what’s right in their own eyes. Until they got under pressure, they cried to God. You read about it, almost 12 times throughout the Book of Judges, you would say did you get it?

Glenn: Isn’t it amazing how quickly we forgot 9/11? I mean, look who we were right after that.

Michael: Snooze button.

Glenn: Snooze button that fast.

Michael: Churches, synagogues, all packed with people the day after. Now, everybody’s back to their normal joyful leisure. Whatever it is they were into, they went back into it with vengeance.

Glenn: I’d love to have you back. We’re out of time, but I’d love to have you back. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Michael: Sure. I look forward to it.

Glenn: Maybe we can just spend some time just talking about the book and what’s in the book.

Michael: Sure.

Glenn: God bless you.

Michael: Thank you, Glenn.

Glenn: Thank you so much. Back in just a minute.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.