Tuesday, May 29, 2018

VP Pence: "Pulpits" More Powerful Than "Podiums"

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Friday, VP Mike Pence told pastors and ministry leaders that "the pulpit you stand behind has much greater consequence than the podium" the president and I stand behind.

And he explained how he and President Trump are just alike....kind of.

In a speech to pastors and ministry leaders at the Watchman on the Wall national briefing Friday at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Capitol Hill, Vice President Pence told hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders that it is both his and the president's conviction "that the pulpits you stand behind are of much greater consequence than the podium behind which he and I stand, so thank you for your service to the Gospel."

His 25-minute speech is linked above.

Pence affirms that Trump supports Christians.

He noted several accomplishments by the Trump administration over the past several months, including judicial appointments, specifically that of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and an executive order protecting religious liberty...and he pledged the president is continuing to work toward the repeal of the "Johnson Amendment" which prohibits pastors and ministry leaders from speaking publicly for or against a political candidate when speaking for their church or ministry.

He also noted that the president has redirected government funds that had previously flowed through the United Nations to go directly to persecuted Christians and religious minorities overseas.

And he mentioned the president's decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, to huge applause.

Mike Pence said, "I couldn't be more proud to serve as vice president to the most pro-life president in American history...including last week reinstating a Reagan era rule restricting Title X funds from going to organizations that perform or refer women for abortions."

Pence said he and Trump are just alike...sort of.

Pence said of the president, "He and I have gotten very close, I mean, obviously we are a lot alike," he joked. "I get it. He's big city, I'm small town. He's very charismatic, interesting, memorable...I'm...me. But we're alike in every way that matters...Other than a whole lot of zeros, President Trump and I have a whole lot in common. A lot of zeros," he said to laughter.

VP Pence recommended the crowd check out David Brody's book, "The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography" which explores the president's faith and spiritual heritage.

How Mike Pence became a Christian.

Pence told the crowd it was 40 years ago this spring that he became a born-again Christian, but giving his life to Jesus at a Christian music festival in Wilmore, Kentucky.

He said, "I'm four decades into walking with the Lord. I've got a long way to go, but of paramount importance is that you just continue. Continue to hold up the truth."

The solution to the chaos and division in our country.

Pence gave a definitive response to the moral crises we have in our country: "Keep being the watchmen and women on the wall, keep doing what you're doing. It's making a difference---your ministry has the greatest consequence in the life of a nation...Keep preaching the Good News. Keep preaching in season and out of season, as the Bible says. Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have."

Pulpits, not podiums, inspired the birth of this great nation.

Jonathan Edwards

"A City on a Hill"---a "Zion in the Wilderness" were phrases the first to arrive on the shores of America used to define their vision. They saw a biblical society, not led by an autocrat or theologian, but by the Truth of God's Word.

Jonathan Edwards, at 13, entered Yale University and graduated at the head of his class. Jonathan was extremely knowledgeable and competent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew before he was a teenager. Although deeply interested in religion, he rebelled against some of the biblical doctrines such as the sovereignty of God, and others. But Edwards also had his moment of truth.

When he confessed his life and submission to Jesus Christ, he described it as "a sense of glory of the Divine Being; a new sense...Never any words of Scripture seemed to me as these words did." He said he felt he had been "swallowed up by the Kingdom of God forever."

He would later become a professor at Yale. However, he often said he had a "pastor's heart" and a compelling passion to preach the Gospel.

Edwards would spend the rest of his life preaching---spending about 13 hours a day in study, preparing at least 2 sermons per week.

By the time Edwards began preaching publicly, the dream of the first colonists---the "City on a Hill," the "Zion in the Wilderness" had faded substantially.

The great grandchildren of these first Pilgrims were not so interested in making God the center of their lives.

Podiums had replaced pulpits.

The winds of secularism, humanism and the Age of Reason---the Enlightenment---blew across the Atlantic and a prospering generation 3 times removed from the first who came, decided they were prospering and quite able to manage their own affairs independently of the God of their forefathers.

As Edwards preached, people wept---some even cried out loud at the thought of the eternity awaiting them without Christ.

In this context, Jonathan Edwards preached what would become his most famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

As people's hearts turned to God, they began to embrace the dreams of their great grandparents.

And by all honest accounts, Jonathan Edwards and other preachers turned the people's hearts back to God and back to the quest for religious freedom that brought their families here in the first place.

What history calls "The Great Awakening" followed. The "Awakening" was followed by the "American Revolution."

A nation was born out of spiritual revival.

The pulpit was more powerful than the podium.

George Whitfield

George Whitfield was another influential preacher during the "Awakening."

George Whitfield, already a religious man, also described his personal conversion to Jesus Christ as transforming, and memorable. That came under the ministry of John and Charles Wesley.

The spiritual revival he ignited was also a central part of part of the "Great Awakening" and subsequently the American Revolution.

His last sermon during that "Awakening" period and before the American Revolution was given at Boston Commons before 23,000 people---with no microphones---likely the largest gathering in American history to that point.

As VP Pence said Friday; the pulpit is indeed more powerful than the podium---if it is properly used.

If the pulpit is used for feeble attempts to "relate" to a lost and ambivalent culture, it becomes a mere podium attempting to bend the gospel of Jesus Christ to the demands and conforms of a lost culture.

If any podium, or soapbox, or street corner, or microphone is used to preach the gospel, speaking Truth to the culture, it becomes a pulpit.

Be grateful for the men and women in this administration who are "pulpit" people. Pray for them. And pray for the president.

Be informed. Be Discerning. Be Bold. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.