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American Pastors Network

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

The results of a new survey from Lifeway Research may come as a surprise to pastors and worship leaders.

The study found that most churchgoers will put up with a change in music style or a different preacher, but they will choose to leave a church if the foundational beliefs are tampered with.

These findings can serve as a wake-up call, says the American Pastors Network’s (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net)to pastors who may be trying to reach people through music, programs or style rather than the substance of the Gospel.

“It is crucial that American churches return to the core of the Gospel—the true focus of who and what the church should be,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “Today’s pastors can get caught up in the style of music, programs offered, the environment and even how leaders dress. While these things may deserve some attention, they should not be the focus. The foundation of the church must be its theological position and how strongly it is rooted in the Word of God. Rightfully so, the people in the pews realize this.”

According to the survey, most churchgoers are committed to staying at their current church for the long haul, but more than half of respondents (54 percent) said they would strongly consider leaving if the church’s core beliefs or doctrine changed.

Perhaps the reasoning for staying at a current church is that, for the most part, churchgoers say they agree with their church’s teaching. About half (52 percent) say their beliefs are completely aligned with those of the church; 42 percent say their beliefs are mostly aligned.

“We see many churches today wrestling with what should be foundational beliefs for any church, such as God’s definition of marriage, his design for sexuality and gender, and many other cultural and societal issues,” Rohrer added. “While churches must maintain biblical positions on these matters and address them from the pulpit, it is a grave mistake for them to change their foundational beliefs in order to welcome more people, appease more members or otherwise engage the culture.”

Of the 1,000-plus surveyed, 35 percent have been at their church between 10 and 24 years, and 27 percent have been there for 25 years or more—meaning that most church members have been at their church longer than the pastor. Just under 40 percent have been at their current church for nine years or fewer. Overall, 15 percent of churchgoers say they have thought about going to another church in the past six months. Eighty-five percent say they have not.

Besides a change in church doctrine, churchgoers say several other reasons might cause them to switch:

  • 48 percent would change churches if they moved to a new home
  • 19 percent if the preaching style changed
  • 12 percent if the pastor left
  • 10 percent if a family member wanted a new church
  • 9 percent would leave over politics.
  • 6 percent would leave if they didn’t feel needed
  • 5 percent if the music style changed
  • 4 percent if they had a conflict
  • 3 percent if a friend stopped attending

APN recently debuted its new television program, “Stand in the Gap,” which considers transcending cultural issues, seemingly difficult to navigate, from a biblical worldview perspective. “Stand in the Gap” TV also seeks to bring clarity to cultural confusion and makes sense of the nonsense around us, focusing on the root problems of our nation and applies biblical principles so God’s people can know the truth.

View the media page for APN here, which also details information about “Stand in the Gap.” For more information on APN, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, its Facebook page or follow APN’s Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors.

Publication Date: July 19, 2018

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson is still imprisoned in Turkey today, awaiting release after nearly two years. Brunson was sentenced to prison in October 2016, for the allegation that he was connected to a terror group that attempted to overthrow the Erdogan government that July. Brunson was thought to be released this week, however, his court hearing has been pushed back even further, to October 12.

The Christian Post reports, “Brunson faces up to 35 years in prison and has denied the charges, which also includes having connections to militants with the Kurdistan Workers Party. Human rights activists and U.S. lawmakers have long blasted the allegations as baseless.”

According to a witness, the accusers in Brunson’s case were three people who did not have any firsthand knowledge of Brunson’s promotion of said terrorist group. "It is all second and thirdhand," he said.

In defense of Brunson, two people were allowed to speak, one of them, a pastor, and the other, a woman. The pastor who defended Brunson emphatically told the court that he “has denounced terrorism and never had any connections with the PKK or Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who currently lives in Pennsylvania.”

The Turkish government’s claim that Brunson and American churches are working with intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, in order to “undermine Turkish sovereignty,” was also denied by the pastor.

During the hearing, Brunson’s defense concluded that all of the accusations and “evidence” are false and unsubstantiated. He then insisted that Brunson be released from prison.

The five-and-a-half-hour hearing ended with the judge deciding to continue the trial on October 12. Brunson remains in prison until the next hearing.

“According to Reuters, Brunson, who appeared in a black suit and tie, told the court that it is hard for him to be separated from his wife, Norine, and children,” The Christian Post reports, “Although he proclaims his innocence, Brunson asserted that it is his "turn" to suffer in the name of Christ.”

"There is no concrete evidence against me. The disciples of Jesus suffered in his name, now it is my turn," the 50-year-old pastor was quoted as saying in Turkish. "I am an innocent man on all these charges. I reject them. I know why I am here. I am here to suffer in Jesus' name."

In light of this ruling, many are calling on the Trump Administration to intervene for Brunson’s release.

Please join us in prayer for Pastor Brunson and his family during this very difficult time.

Publication Date: July 19, 2018

Photo Courtesy: World Witness/Facebook

In light of the current abortion situation in the U.S., a rising chorus of leading Evangelical women called the Senate to stop its rush to confirm a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court and put a “Pause on the Culture Wars”. A significant core of leading Evangelical men has now joined the women’s call.

It may at first sound counterintuitive, but this growing segment of the Evangelical church is warning that the conservative Evangelical strategy to dominate the Supreme Court will not reduce, but will in fact increase abortion rates—particularly in poor communities, especially communities of color. What’s more, a Conservative majority Court poses an existential threat to the civil rights and protections gained through the Civil Rights movement.

The evangelical Culture Wars have effectively brought the nation to this turning point with the balance of the Supreme Court poised to tip in favor of a conservative agenda for generations.

With this political strategy crafted in the 1980s by the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition, conservative Evangelicals have eyed the Supreme Court as a prime target of its war to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Not only does Roe not end abortion (it just bumps it to states legislatures); rates for American women are at all-time low — except among poor women — because economic hardship is the primary driver of abortion. The way to reduce abortion is not through escalating culture wars but by reducing poverty. Instead, this conservative court’s rulings have already begun to whittle away voting rights and desegregation, and will continue to unravel hard won rights and freedoms that reduce poverty. It’s spreading divisiveness across our nation — even within our church pews.

This Call to Pause, initiated by evangelical author Lisa Sharon Harper and founder of Freedom Road, LLC, and an Auburn Senior Fellow, has garnered strong public statements from nearly three dozen leading Evangelical women and men across the country. Read the statements from this growing chorus of evangelical women and men of color and white evangelical allies; and learn how you can help stop the collateral damage from this war, and find in God a path forward toward common good, humility, and real solutions that will bless all:  www.freedomroad.us/calltopause

Publication Date: July 18, 2018

Photo Courtesy: Facebook

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