“Darkness Is Falling: Vladimir Putin and the Threat to the West.” (Full text of my address to the 2018 National Religious Broadcasters Convention.)

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Nashville, Tennessee — On the eve of the release of The Kremlin Conspiracy, I was invited to deliver a keynote address to the National Religious Broadcasters convention. 

Here is a link to the full text of my speech. We will post the video when it’s available.

The following are selected excerpts from the speech:

Preaching the gospel in the open air is now illegal in Russia. So is sharing the gospel with friends and coworkers—even in your own home. So is inviting friends to come to church to hear the Word of God. Christianity Today described the new Russian law signed in July 2016 as the “most restrictive measures [against religious freedom] in post-Soviet history”….

143 million people spread across eleven time zones are slaves of an evil they either cannot see or cannot stop. We must stand with our brothers and sisters who love Christ but hear the prison doors closing and locking around them. We dare not put our lamp under a bushel. The Billy Graham era may be over, but we must never stop communicating the Good News, especially to nations enslaved by cruel and wicked tyrants….

Darkness is falling in Russia. A new czar has risen, and his name is Vladimir Putin. Putin calls himself a Christian, but he has declared war on the gospel.

Opponents wind up in jail. Journalists disappear or die. The economy is suffocating. Poverty is rampant. Deaths by alcoholism and drug overdoses are exploding. Since Putin came to power in 2000, the population has shrunk by more than three million people. They’re not emigrating. They’re dying. One in four Russian men die before age fifty-five. And Russians aren’t having enough children to replace themselves. Why would they? They have no hope.

Yet on March 18—barring something unforeseen—Russians will go to the polls and reelect Vladimir Putin once again, giving him power to rule until 2024. Why? If life is so dismal in post-Soviet Russia, why is Putin so popular? Why should it matter to our leaders in Washington that by the end of his next term, Putin will have ruled for nearly a quarter of century? And why should any of this matter to you and the American Evangelical movement? Allow me to take those questions one at a time….

Why should any of this matter to leaders in Washington and the West?

Because Vladimir Putin poses a grave and growing threat to the national security of the United States and our allies of any power in the world—greater than Radical Islam, greater than Iran or North Korea or China…

Putin made global headlines around the world by announcing that Russia has developed new first-strike nuclear missiles and state-of-the-art hypersonic underwater torpedoes that make NATO defenses “completely useless.” In an angry, menacing State of the Union address, the Russian president vowed that “Russia cannot be contained.” He explained when and how Russia will use nuclear weapons against her enemies. He complained no one has been listening to his threats and promises of nuclear superiority over the West. “Listen now,” he warned. “I’m not bluffing.”

Putin is hungry for wealth, hungrier for power, hungrier still for territory. He must be stopped, yet no one is stopping him….

Putin is that he sees himself as a modern-day czar. He’s not a Communist. He’s not a Marxist or Leninist. He is, rather, an imperialist. He feels humiliated by the collapse of the Soviet Empire. He sees his mission as rebuilding the glory of Mother Russia, and to that end, he is hell-bent on expanding Russia’s borders.

“My historical mission,” he once said, is to stop “the collapse of the USSR. . . . If I can help save Russia from collapse, then I’ll have something to be proud of. “The monarch [that is, the czar] doesn’t have to worry about whether or not he will be elected, or about petty political interests, or about how to influence the electorate. He can think about the destiny of the people and not become distracted with trivialities.” Thus, one part mafia kingpin, one part imperialist czar, Putin is . . .

  • rebuilding the Russian offensive war machine, o rebuilding Russia’s strategic and tactical nuclear forces
  • selling advanced weapons and even nuclear technology to Iran
  • selling weapons to North Korea
  • invading her neighbors, o silencing his critics
  • threatening the West. 

The big question is: What’s next?

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In menacing speech, Putin announces new first-strike nuclear missiles, shows video simulation of Russian nuclear strike on Florida. Complains West isn’t listening to his threats. “Listen now,” he warns. “I’m not bluffing.” Here’s the latest.

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(Nashville, Tennessee) —  Vladimir Putin is making headlines around the world today by announcing that Russia has developed new first-strike nuclear missiles and state-of-the-art, hypersonic underwater torpedoes that make NATO defenses “completely useless.”

He also showed the Russian people a video with an animated simulation of a Russian nuclear attack on the State of Florida.

In an angry, menacing State of the Union address, the Russian President complained no one has been listening to his threats and promises of nuclear superiority over the West. 

“Listen now,” he warned, adding: “I’m not bluffing.”

Tomorrow morning, I will deliver an address here at the National Religious Broadcasters convention on the grave and growing threat posed by Putin to the U.S., our allies, as well as to Christians throughout the Russian Federation. The speech comes as we prepare to release my new political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, on March 6th. 

Here are a few advance excerpts from my speech:

The Kremlin speech precisely underscores yet again why I believe Russia under Vladimir Putin is far more dangerous than Radical Islam. 

Putin is a nuclear-armed mafia boss. But he’s not Sonny Corleone. He’s Michael. He’s not a rash, impulsive gangster. He’s a cold-blooded, methodical, calculating killer, and he has seven thousand nuclear warheads and the ICBMs to deliver them.

Most Americans – including most officials in Washington – are focused on the threats posed by North Korea, Iran, ISIS and al Qaeda. But as serious as those threats are, we need to understand afresh just how grave a threat Putin poses to the U.S. and our NATO and Middle Eastern allies. He has just threatened us with a new first-strike nuclear weapon that he claims cannot be intercepted.

Any leader who does not take seriously countering the Putin threat does so at his peril.  

EXCERPTS FROM CNN COVERAGE OF PRESIDENT PUTIN’S SPEECH: “NATO DEFENSES ARE COMPLETELY USELESS”

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted Thursday of new weaponry that will render NATO defenses “completely useless” — and delivered a warning to the world about Russia’s resurgent military might.
  • In an annual address to the Russian parliament, the Kremlin leader said Russia had developed a new, nuclear-capable cruise missile with “unlimited” range that is capable of eluding air-defense systems.
  • He also said Russia had developed an “invincible” missile that can deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed.
  • “Russia still has the greatest nuclear potential in the world, but nobody listened to us,” he said. “Listen now.”
  • “We are creating state-of-the-art systems for Russia’s strategic weapons.”
  • Putin said Russia is creating a weapon capable of flying “like a meteorite” at several times the speed of sound. “It will be practically invulnerable. The speed will be hypersonic.”
  • “We’ve never had an intention of attacking anybody,”

 

EXCERPTS FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS: “YOU HAVE FAILED TO CONTAIN RUSSIA”

  • “I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: all what you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened,” he said. “You have failed to contain Russia.”
  • The Russian leader said the high-speed underwater drone also has an “intercontinental” range and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could target both aircraft carriers and coastal facilities. He said its “very big” operational depth and a speed that is at least 10 times higher than any other vessel would make it immune to enemy intercept.
  • The Russian leader said that another new weapon called Avangard is an intercontinental hypersonic missile that would fly to targets at a speed 20 times the speed of sound and strike “like a meteorite, like a fireball.”
  • Putin said that the weapon is capable of performing sharp maneuvers on its way to targets, making it “absolutely invulnerable for any missile defense system.”
  • “We will interpret any use of nuclear weapons against Russia and its allies no matter how powerful they are, of low, medium or any other yield, as a nuclear attack,” he said.
  • “It will trigger an immediate answer with all the consequences stemming from it. No one should have any doubts about it.”
  • “We aren’t threatening anyone, we aren’t going to attack anyone, we aren’t going to take anything from anyone,” he said. “The growing Russian military power will guarantee global peace.”

 EXCERPTS FROM CNBC COVERAGE: “I AM NOT BLUFFING”

  • “I’m not bluffing,” he said, adding that Russia was ready to defend herself.
  • “I hope all these things I have said will sober up any potential aggressor and any unfriendly steps taken towards Russia like deploying missile defense systems and expanding NATO towards our borders. Militarily, this is no longer effective and financially, this is no longer viable and eventually, this is just nonsensical for the people who do this.”
  • “Russia’s growing military power is just a guarantee of peace on our planet,” he insisted, and it would preserve the balance of powers in the world.
  • “Those who have been creating new arms races over the last 15 years, imposing unlawful sanctions on Russia to hold our country back, I would like to say, ‘All the things you were trying to hold back have already happened, you were unable to hold Russia back.'”

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Ground-breaking study reveals 871,000 Jewish believers in Jesus in the U.S. (Alliance For The Peace of Jerusalem releases & discusses data during press conference at NRB convention.)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 28, 2018 – A surprising number of Americans with Evangelical beliefs have Jewish roots, and the vast majority of Evangelicals believe it is important to share the Gospel with the Jewish people, according to a study by LifeWay Research underwritten by Chosen People Ministries and New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg.

The study, “Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel and the Peace Process,” found that:

  • Eighty-six percent of Americans with evangelical beliefs say sharing the Gospel with Jewish people is important; and
  • An estimated 871,000 Americans with evangelical beliefs – almost three times the most generous previous estimates — have a Jewish parent or grandparent.

“The study indicates unprecedented openness and responsiveness to the Gospel among American Jews and Americans with Jewish roots,” said Rosenberg, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen. “What’s more, a significant percentage of American Evangelicals without Jewish roots say they believe sharing the Gospel with Jewish people is important, though not all of them are doing so.”

“We must always be loving and humble when we share the message of Jesus with anyone,” Rosenberg continued. “But the Church must never be ashamed of the Gospel because it is, as the Apostle Paul instructs us, the power of salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jews first and also for the Gentiles.”

The study also found that 30 percent of Americans with evangelical beliefs have Jewish friends. But only 32 percent of those told their Jewish friends about Jesus in the past year, and Evangelicals in general seem unclear about how Jews fit into God’s plan.

Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed embrace “supersessionism” or replacement theology – the claim that the Christian church “has fulfilled or replaced the nation of Israel in God’s plan.” Forty-one percent reject that idea, and 32 percent are not sure.

Younger Evangelicals – those between 18 and 34 – are more likely to say Christians have replaced Jews in God’s plan. Thirty-four percent agree, and 30 percent disagree. Thirty-six percent are not sure.

In contrast, 48 percent of Evangelicals 65 and older disagree with replacement theology. Twenty-three percent agree, and 29 percent are not sure.

“To see nearly 40 percent of younger evangelicals unsure of how Israel fits into God’s larger story tells me we have a huge opportunity to educate the next generation to appreciate God’s love and plan for both Israel and the nations,” said Esther Fleece, international speaker, author and millennial influencer. “Millennials don’t need help getting involved, we need help understanding a theology that gives Israel and the Jewish people a place in God’s ongoing story.”  

About half (55 percent) believe “the Bible teaches that one day, most or all Jewish people, alive at that time, will believe in Jesus.” Sixteen percent disagree, and 29 percent are unsure.

“We are thrilled with the growth of the messianic movement both within and outside of the nation of Israel,” said Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries. “The number of Evangelicals saying they have a Jewish parent or grandparent is far greater than we imagined. Probably one of the reasons for this, according to the LifeWay Survey, is because over 70 percent of Evangelicals in the United States believe in the importance of reaching out to their Jewish friends with the good news of Jesus.”

Although Evangelicals see a clear tie between Bible prophecy and the rebirth of the nation of Israel, they’re less certain whether Jewish people play a role in the return of Jesus.

“According to the survey, many Evangelicals believe the Gospel will be spread to all people in the world before Jesus returns,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But they aren’t sure if Jewish people have a special place in God’s plan anymore.”

About half (47 percent) agree with the statement, “Jewish people continue to be significant for the history of redemption as Jesus will return when the Jewish people accept Jesus.” Twenty-three percent disagree, and 31 percent are not sure.

The Scripture places God’s commitment to Israel as an expression of his faithfulness and grace. God made promises to Israel as a people long ago Scripture says he will keep,” said Darrell L. Bock, New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.

When the first part of the study was released in December, showing a need to educate all, especially the young, about Israel’s place in God’s plan, key faith leaders formed the Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem, an organization dedicated to facilitating a better public understanding of the complexities of the Middle East including its roots in history and the Bible. Glaser, Rosenberg and Bock are all founding members of the Alliance.

LifeWay Research conducted the “Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel and the Peace Process” study Sept. 20-28, 2017. The survey asked 2,002 Americans with evangelical beliefs about a wide range of issues involving Israel.

This study found that among American adults almost 40 million have evangelical beliefs using the four-point NAE LifeWay Research Evangelical Beliefs Definition (39,912,710). Two percent of these evangelicals (.021816884) indicate that one or more of their parents or grandparents are Jewish. This yields the estimate of 870,771 adult Americans who have evangelical beliefs and self-report that they have at least one Jewish parent or grandparent.  

For the complete results of the survey, please visit jerusalemalliance.com.

STATEMENT BY JOEL C. ROSENBERG ON THE NEW SURVEY REGARDING EVANGELICALS, THE GOSPEL AND JEWISH PEOPLE

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peace-makers.” What does it mean to be a peacemaker?

It means understanding that God is not “either/or.” He’s “both/and.” He loves all people on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and He commands us to do the same.

It means praying and working for calm and quiet and justice and reasonable peace treaties that bless all people in the Middle East.

Above all, it means communicating to every Jewish and Muslim person the good news that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and the only way to make true and everlasting peace with God – and our fellow man – is to repent of our sins, and receive Jesus as Messiah by faith.

The Gospel is the ultimate Mideast peace strategy. Presidents and Prime Ministers won’t preach it, nor should they. Only we can. And we must, for the fields are ripe for harvest.

In the 1950s, there were fewer than 1,000 Jewish believers worldwide. Today, there are 871,000 Jewish believers in the U.S. alone – a spiritual earthquake of historic proportions.

In recent years, when asked how many Jewish believers there are, I’ve said the number was “about 300,000.” My source was the 2001 edition of Operation World, a study that endeavored to compile the most accurate statistics of Christ-followers in individual countries, and distinct people groups.

Page 362: “Globally there has been a significant response [to the Gospel] among the [world’s] 15 million Jews; around 132,000 are linked with Messianic congregations and a further 200,000 with Gentile churches. Most of these believers are in North America, and also in Russia-Ukraine and the U.K.”

In other words, eighteen years ago, Operation World reported 332,000 Jewish believers in Jesus worldwide.

This estimate was consistent with the views of the “Jews For Jesus” organization. JFJ has stated on its website that “there are as many as 250,000 Messianic Jews in the U.S.; 20,000 in Israel; and as many as 350,000 worldwide.”

For others, however, this estimate was considered too high.

Prior to the release of this study, for example, Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries, had publicly stated on CPM’s website that “some in the Jewish community suggest that there are more than 300,000 Jews who believe in Jesus, but I would place that number a bit lower—maybe at 200,000.

That said, the study we’re releasing today indicates that Americans with Jewish roots are far more receptive – and responsive – to the Gospel than any of us previously thought.

The veil that has covered the eyes of my people for nearly 2,000 years – that has obscured our understanding of Jesus’ true identity – is lifting.

This is deeply encouraging, and it reaffirms that the Gospel message works – it transforms and betters the lives of all people when they receive it, including Jewish people. But first they have to hear it.

This is why the Alliance calls pastors, theologians and believers all over the world to sign the Statement we’ve introduced today, and in so doing to recommit themselves to preaching the Gospel of peace to all people everywhere – including Jews and Muslims – with love and humility and a profound sense of urgency.

Let us say what the Apostle Paul said, that “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.”