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.
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.
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.
Glenn: God bless you.
Michael: Thank you, Glenn.
Glenn: Thank you so much. Back in just a minute.