Skip Heitzig Interviews Cissie Graham Lynch, Vince Torres, and Lenya Heitzig - Skip Heitzig
Great to see you.
We've had such a great time in this series "Hunting Giants."
And before we continue this morning, I want you to think right now. Put somebody in your mind, in your heart, that doesn't know the Lord. Can you think of somebody that you wish would come to know Christ, would come to make a profession of faith and follow Jesus? Put them in your mind in your heart. Commit to pray for them.
And then after the service today, sometime, give them a call and invite them Tuesday to come join you, even offer to take them, to the fairgrounds-- Expo New Mexico at 7 o'clock. Newsboys are going to be there. Dennis Agajanian is going to be there. Free concert.
Franklin Graham is going to be there and give a very strong, plain, simple gospel message, and many lives will be transformed. Among them could be that one that you are thinking of and praying for. So that'll be Tuesday night. We've been looking forward to that.
Well, we have been doing this series called "Hunting Giants." We've studied some biblical characters like Daniel, Esther, John the Baptist. And you know, it's one thing to look at Bible characters and do a Bible study on being courageous in your faith. It's another thing to actually meet giant hunters.
And I thought it would be good to have one week in this where you could look at ordinary people that God has used to influence the world, change the culture. So I'm going to have our panel come out, and then I'm going to introduce them once they come.
You will greet them as they come, will you not? Will you give them your love and applause? Thank you.
Of course, this is my wife, Lenya. She was very courageous in saying yes when I asked her to marry me. That was a huge step of courage for her.
I was hunting giants!
Ha ha! Very good. Ba-da bing! OK.
And then next to Lenya is Cissie Graham Lynch. This is the daughter of Franklin Graham and Jane Graham. Which makes her the granddaughter of Dr. Billy Graham. And she's here with her children and her husband, Corey, over here. Corey was in the NFL. So she married a football player.
She has been a spokesperson for Samaritan's Purse, dealing with issues that pertain to women and children. She has advocated for initiatives in those areas.
But she has a podcast. The podcast-- get this-- it's called Fearless. And it's really a great podcast. I've listened to it on several occasions. Fearless . And it's Fearless Faith in a Compromising Culture. And we'll talk a little more about that.
But we have a picture of Cissie way back when. Look-- this is Cissie on the left, riding a bicycle. That's my son Nate on the right. They were in Jamaica at one of Franklin's events, one of his crusades.
Those awkward pre-teenage years.
Yeah . Wow! So we go way back.
And then next to Cissie is Vince Torres. Vince is a pastor. He has been a pastor for 10 years in Santa Fe. He has--
He is the pastor of the Legislative Prayer Caucus, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives. He's had 15 years experience in New Mexico government, including 6 years with the former lieutenant governor, John Sanchez. And then he's the former president of Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico, a Christian public policy organization. And correct me if I said any of this wrong, Vince. But we're glad that you're with us as well.
Thank you for having me, pastor. It's an honor to be here.
And you're here with your wife, Tiffany over here, is that right?
That's right. My wife Tiffany is over there, and my two kiddos are in children's ministry.
That's great. Well we're glad you're here.
So I want to begin, first of all, with you, Cissie. Separation of church and state. We've heard a lot about that over the years. People have debated the meaning of that. It has been used a lot in the last year and a half, especially. And it is a phrase that has shifted in meaning and emphasis. I want you to speak about that.
Well, first, I think a lot of Americans believe that that phrase, "separation of church and state," is in the US Constitution. And it's not. There's no such phrase in there.
And that's because that's not how our forefathers intended it. They thought the morality of the religious people would be the foundation of this country-- that our faith should be lived out in all aspects of our lives, whether that's in the public square, in our jobs, and in our community.
And unfortunately, because of that phrase, which actually came out in 1947 with a Supreme Court case. And that phrase was pulled, "the wall of separation," from a personal letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote after he had become president reaffirming that there would be no national religion, that had been practiced in Europe.
And so he was reaffirming that. But they pulled out this phrase, "wall of separation," in 1947. So in the last 60 years, it has kind of been used as, like a weapon a little bit, towards the church. And especially in the last 18 months, those same people that have used that phrase for the last 60 years have started contradicting themselves. Because now, the state is trying to control the church. And that's how you manage your church, how many people can be-- not seeing your church as essential. And where they would see other organizations and businesses, that is familiar, same size, like casinos, and abortion clinics, and others, still being able to operate.
So that same group that's pushed that phrase, has now contradicted themselves. And that's not how our forefathers saw our faith. It wasn't to be a hidden faith inside of the four walls of our church or our home. It was meant to be activated inside of our communities
Yeah, that's an interesting point that you brought up, that they have said, look stay out of our business, have nothing to do with us, separation. But now all of the sudden it's like, yeah but we want to control you. We want to not separate anymore. We want to be the boss of you.
And we've seen this throughout world history before, and how that's played out. And we see it happening now.
Well our forefathers wanted to protect the church from the state, so that was really the intention, not for the state to be protected from the church. And that's why they came here. fleeing persecution.
Yeah. That's a good point, Lenya.
Vince, you're both a pastor and you're in politics. So--
I love that!
--you're an interesting--
You're an interesting blend of that. How do these two roles complement each other or contradict each other? And what got you into the political genre world to begin with?
Yeah, the separation of church and state is a bad word in our home, because we don't believe in it. And I've spent most of my career and my ministry sharing my time between the halls of our state capital and the halls of our church. And so it's truly a blessing to be able to serve the Lord in both capacities.
As far as these two unique roles that we have, I constantly remind myself of a passage in Romans, chapter 14, where Paul says that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. And that tells me that as Christians who want to be engaged in what is happening in our city, and our state, and our nation, that we must be faithful to allow our faith to shape our politics, and not the other way around.
And I think so many times we're tempted, and I've been tempted in the same way, as to allow our politics to shape and to alter our faith. But when we stand firm in the faith, I'm convinced that we can do exactly what God has called us to do.
We see through the prophet Jeremiah the call to seek the welfare of the city, to pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare, we will find our welfare. And it's an interesting passage because what we see there is there's a connection between the lives that we live, and the welfare of our city.
And so I think it's an honor to be able to serve in both capacities and to have that voice, to take the good news of the Gospel, to take prayer into our capital, and have an impact for the kingdom in an area that is often seen as off-limits.
Wow. Vince, let me ask you a further question about that. When it comes to the government either overreaching or imposing a position, the church will often use the phrase that we should do that, simply under the banner of "love your neighbor." You and I had a little bit of a discussion before the service about that. I want you to talk through that.
Yeah, I think over the past 18 months, one of the unfortunate things that we've seen is, everybody knew the Bible verse "judge not." And it was one of the most well-known, but misapplied, passages for most of my lifetime. I think in many ways, "love your neighbor" has now replaced that, as we have seen many, many people use "love your neighbor" as a reason to excuse anything that the government does.
And one of the things that I like to remind folks is, that the commands that we have in scripture, including the command to love our neighbor, those are directed toward us. It's the church. They're not directed at bureaucrats in Santa Fe or in Washington, D.C. And I think part of our loving our neighbor is our ability to speak the truth with them, and to love them in a way that is honest.
And the passage of scripture is very, very clear. We are to speak the truth in love. And I think for too long, we've been tempted, and even pushed over the last 18 months by the government, to separate the two. That we either have to be loving, or we have to be honest. And the scripture would inform me that truth and love go hand in hand. You cannot separate them. If you want to love somebody, you have to be honest and truthful with them. And if you're truthful, that is, for me, one of the ultimate acts of love.
Lenya, you've been involved in helping children, especially impacted by terrorism. And terrorism has reared its ugly head again in the Middle East. It's never gone away, but it's in the forefront of the news lately.
You, in the midst of that, have helped children through Reload Love. Can you think of a specific verse of scripture, or promise, about facing a giant? Because, you know, I'm going to help kids in Afghanistan get rescued, or I'm going to do something after the towers fell on 9/11. Those are some big giants to conquer.
What prompted you to do that? And when you face a giant, what's your go-to backup?
That's so good. In Psalm 10, there's a scripture that says that "he who of the earth will strike terror no more." And I think that popped out to me once in the passage. And so that's kind of where I look at terrorists.
The sad thing is when I got involved, it was 2014, and ISIS was coming out of Syria and the region into Iraq. And initially they were killing Yazidis, because they are considered a cult type to Islam-- to Muslims. But also, the UN and the United States said that during that invasion that Christians were under a genocide. That's a particular designation that there was a genocide of Christians.
And I don't know, were you aware that Christians were being killed in mass numbers during that? I mean, some of us were, but I don't think that enough of that was said. And there are mass graves. And Christians were being beheaded, or burned in cages.
As, a matter of fact, when we were visiting one of the IDP camps there, that had just happened that day. Women were burned in cages. And we got in this tent with a lot of women and they forced us to look at these videos of women being burned alive. And they'd say, will you tell people? Will you go home? Will you tell them? Will you report it? And I told them that you were on many radio stations, and that we had radio stations, and I would try and tell anybody that I could about that situation.
And certainly it's terrifying, but greater love has no man than this to lay down his life for his friends.
I had cancer about 14 years ago, and I think after that I just got this Esther mentality, if I die, I die. You know what I mean? Once you've faced death, and I realize I'm living eternally, I mean, what's coming next for me is heaven. And so I think that that can make us more fearless. Look, these are the worst times you're going to live through, but the best is yet to come. So use what you have now for the kingdom that's coming.
Yeah. You know, to be courageous, we all need resources to do that, right? You just don't rise up individually on your own strength and sustain being courageous.
So Cissie, I know you come from a heritage of courageous faith. Your grandfather, Dr. Billy Graham, preached boldly the gospel. And listen, I'm thankful. I came to faith in Christ because of him. Your Father never misuses an opportunity that's afforded him. Whenever a microphone is close to Franklin Graham, he could be asked about the weather in Belarus, and he will take them to the cross and share the gospel in 30 seconds. And so he's bold. So you are raised in that.
But all of you, I want you to kind of pitch in on this question. What do you use for resources? An author? An example in history? Something to weather those storms.
I think for me, one of the heroes that I will often look to, especially given the work that I do as both a pastor and someone who's involved in public policy, is the great example of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Who was a pastor during the days of Nazi Germany, did not waver in his faithfulness to preach the gospel and to preach the word of God, but also recognized that what was happening needed something from the church, to be more than just, we oppose that, or far worse, to say, we're not going to get involved because that's political and we're just going to preach the gospel. No, instead Dietrich Bonhoeffer jumped head-in to a political and public policy matter of the day, and quite frankly, saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
And I've always regarded one of his particular statements as really meaningful for me, when he said that, silence in the face of evil is evil itself, not to speak is to speak, and not to act is to act.
And when I--
You mentioned my grandfather and my father, and I am so thankful for those examples. My father has set that wonderful example before me. And the same Franklin Graham you saw on TV was the Franklin Graham I saw at home.
But I also had fearless women in my life. I had a fearless mom. And although she's not in the spotlight, I saw how her fearless faith was activated throughout the community. And I want that to be an encouragement to you, where you are as a mom, as a grandmother. And my grandmother was fearless. You knew my grandmother, Ruth Graham.
Even with men that were traveling, I can remember my mom and grandmother killing the rattlesnakes, and doing all of that. But their faith, they lived a fearless faith inside their communities of where God had called them. And so I'm so thankful for that as I had that example there at home.
While dad was fighting and being fearless kind of where the fire was, and he was running to the fire, wherever in the world that was, I had a mom that set that example before me.
Good, good. Thank you. Thank you.
I have a fearless father. If anybody knows Rod Farley, he's fearless. He was a doctor. He wrote a book on the power of positive thinking. And when litigation was so strong against doctors, he went to law school so that he could defend himself if he was ever sued.
I mean, if you get that kind of mentality--
Also, Franklin's been in our lives forever. I prayed that Skip could go to Mogadishu, and he did. And they were chasing Aidid in helicopters while you were there.
So why did you want me to go there?
We have a very large insurance policy.
That was during the Black Hawk Down time.
But it was right during that time, and Franklin, when the plane was landing, there were American caskets with flags on them. And what did he say to you?
He said, you ready to die?
It's true and we went-- in Rwanda-- after the Hutus and Tutsis, and we stayed in the Canadian consulate's house. And there was blood on the wall. There were bodies. And so we had these opportunities that kind of strengthen you. And so I think maybe that's why I had a stronger stance.
I forgot, earlier, to say that with this whole Afghanistan situation-- it's the Taliban, but ISIS is back, right? I thought ISIS was gone, but ISIS is back. And we have raised over $340,000.
And what I didn't report to you is, when we were about to start the campaign-- we had planned since June to launch a campaign in August-- the day it was supposed to launch, was the day Kabul fell. And my whole team called and said, what do we do? Do we raise money? We can't find the people we were looking for? We were going to support a hundred families. And anybody that was there had to purge their devices of anything Western to survive.
And right as we were praying, Lord hide the Christians under the shadow of your wings, and make us a lifeline, I get a text on this phone from Nick-- I won't say his name, an ex-CIA operative. And he said, Lenya we need help getting people out. Can I count on Reload Love? And we'd just said, Lord make me a lifeline. So you're like, I don't know what God wants us to do, but I know he wants me to say "yes."
A couple of days later he said, we're trying to get the girls soccer team out. And just raise as much money as you can because we don't know what we're going to need. Then Skip knows, we were getting texts during many of the operations.
We have seven girls.
We have 12 girls.
We're at the petrol station.
We're across from the gate.
Now is the most dangerous thing.
And we were praying on a Sunday night. And we've got them. The American soldiers are watching them. And then ISIS is sending in a truck. And the drone took out the truck that we now know isn't ISIS. And then I get, message fail. And we're devastated.
Then the girls were in Mazar, near an airport. A plane was coming in. The Taliban had RPGs, so they couldn't land.
But just this last week, I was laying in bed in the middle of the night, pray the girls are boarding the plane. Pray now they're flying. And I could watch on a flight tracker as the girls were leaving Afghan airspace, and Tajikistan airspace. And they're now in Lisbon, Puerto Rico.
And so we get to buy their clothes and their feminine items. But the first thing they asked for was a soccer ball. So of course, we're getting the girls a soccer ball. Thank you that we could be a part of a team, and be able to have support, that we get calls, I need $100,000 right now to pay for this plane, And if we needed it, we had it. And so we're so blessed.
Wow, it's so good. Good, good, good.
Cissie, we know the Taliban doesn't like Christians. We know the world doesn't like us. But what do you do when the opposition doesn't come from the Taliban, or from the secular media, but it comes from the church?
I think in the last couple of years, we've seen a big division inside the church, especially in this last year since COVID. And that ugly word of politics has just like rooted itself inside. I say "politics." I don't think it's an ugly word, but it's what others think.
But division is nothing new to the church. We've seen division in the church from since the beginning of the church, you know, divisions on theology and doctrine. But right now, I think, we see the church that is biblically illiterate. So when they see a bad idea coming, or a bad idea arises in the church, they don't know how to discern it because they don't know the word of God.
And these are well-intended people. But bad ideas are rising in the church. Whether it's a "love wins" slogan, and it sounds right on the outside, and we as a church, we don't want to be cancel culture. We don't want to be seen as bigots, so we kind of adopt that idea as the world has given it to us.
But to know God's word, and I mentioned earlier a Bible verse that I've clung to in the last 18 months is Daniel chapter 11, that those who know their God will be able to stand in strength and take action.
And y'all are so fortunate to have a church and a pastor that elevates God's word. And he teaches from God's word. And he wants you to know God's word, so when that day comes, that you can stand in strength, and take action. Even inside, with your church, with your family, and with your friends, that you can discern. That you would have God's word to turn to, not your own opinions, but God's word in the division.
That's so good. The Bible verse that you just quoted, in the translation I'm familiar with, the New King James, says, they that know their God will do great exploits. And I love that. You have all done great exploits.
Vince, you attended Liberty University. Cissie, you attended Liberty University. Meredith, our singer, attended Liberty University.
It's a little reunion up here.
It's like a reunion. It's a great school. So many great students have come from there.
Vince, when you went there, you studied political science and business. How important is a Christian education in this country?
I think Christian education is more important than ever, in my personal opinion. And I don't say that as someone who is against public education. I am a product of public education, for most of my life, right here in New Mexico. Up until the pandemic, my little girl was enrolled in a public elementary school in Santa Fe. And so I am not by any means anti public education.
But what I am concerned is about the direction of our public schools, here in New Mexico, and across the country. You cannot get on social media or get online these days without learning more and more stories of inappropriate curriculum and theories that are being introduced and forced upon our children.
And I think we need to recognize as parents how much time these individuals, how much time the state and these teachers have with our students. In fact, there was a Project Veritas video that was recently released. A high school teacher in Sacramento, bragging about the fact that, in his mind, he had 180 days to turn his students into Antifa revolutionaries.
And that's just some of what's happening out there. I have been able to see and look at and review content in other states. Like California, where kindergarteners as young as 4 and 5 years old are being taught to question their gender. They're being taught to question their sexuality.
You have middle school students being exposed to pornographic material in the form of sex education, encouraging promiscuity and experimentation. All of these things are happening now.
And I think as parents, if there was ever a time where we have to say, enough is enough-- I'm taking back control of my kid's education-- that time is right now. We have to step up. And scripturally speaking, we are the ones who are primarily responsible for the education of our children. It's not the state.
And I realize that for many families maybe a private Christian education, or even home school may not be feasible. That's OK. Again, one of the most encouraging things that I'm seeing on social media lately are these parents who are showing up at their school board meetings, and throwing some of this garbage back in the face of the school board members and saying, enough is enough. We're not going to go along with this anymore.
You all have a school board election here coming up for APS in November. Do you know who the candidates are? Do you know where they stand on these issues? Get to know them. And then show up, and don't be afraid to be your child's most prolific and vocal lobbyist when it comes to their education.
What's really vexing is a lot of our battle is a battle of semantics, where you will see the secular world take a word that we know scripturally, and then bastardize it, if you will. So when they say, love wins, what love are they referring to? Like, what is your definition of love? And God's definition of love is not the world's definition of love. So love outside, sex outside, the bounds of marriage is not love. Adultery is not love. Homosexuality is not love.
So when I got involved politically, it was when SB 91 in '91 wanted to amend the state's Constitution to add sexual orientation to sex, gender, religion that that should be a protected people. And I just don't agree with that definition. And so speaking the truth in love is sometimes holding on to the truth, or saying, look I didn't start this fight. You're the one that's wanting to redefine terms. You're the one that wants to redefine the Constitution, or our documents.
And there comes a time, you know, Christian, we can play offense or defense. Now is the time we could be playing offense. We may end up having to play defense, because so many things are being trodden upon by the left. And so, get involved. Get informed. And do what you can now, because now is the time to fight some of these battles.
I just want to encourage you, as Vince is talking about as parents, our primary responsibility is the spiritual development of our children. But I also want to encourage grandparents to get involved and to help parents like us raising-- I've got two-- young children. Grandparents, your job is not done yet.
And to encourage that, because we live in a culture where a lot of moms are working. They're busy. They're exhausted. And we have to be diligent with the spiritual formation of our children because the world is coming after them. We are in a spiritual battle for the hearts and souls of our children. They are coming after them like no other. But I want to encourage you, and as you're an aunt, an uncle, be involved in your niece's and nephew's life where God has called you. Help them in that spiritual development. Come alongside the parents and help them be diligent.
Yeah, you told me a story about-- all of us have our Bibles up here, but you have this particularly large Bible--
Really too big to travel with! I say I'm more holy!
You traveled with that, but you're a more spiritual than we are, because you have a bigger Bible.
And you point that out to your children. Tell us what they said.
I always saw my mom's Bible open up every single morning when I went down. And as a family, we read out of scripture every night when my dad was home, as a family. And so I get up super early, way earlier than my children do. I try. You know, I can't say, I do it every morning, but I try on a good. I open up, and I leave my Bible open. But even before they wake up, because I want my children to see God's word open in our household.
And so when my little son comes down the steps, and he gets on my lap, I have the Bible. And I say, Austin what is this? And he says God's Holy word. And I said, and what is that? And he says, it's truth, Mama. And you know, he doesn't understand that quite yet, but I want to plant those seeds in it now, because we are truly fighting for the hearts and souls of this generation.
Yes, we are fighting.
In the book of Jude it says, contend earnestly for the faith. Better translation, put up a good fight for the faith once for all delivered to the Saints. And you guys are doing that.
Vince, let me just piggyback on something you said about education. Speak to teachers. We have public school teachers. They're doing a great job. God put them in this position. It's not easy in that system that they're in. What can they do?
Yeah, I want to thank all of our teachers, including our public school teachers, our home school teachers, right now, our private education teachers. You have such an important role. I can still think back on the impact that my teachers had on me.
In fact, the principal of your elementary school was my high school principal, Bernadette Shanaberger. And if she could keep me in line, I expect her to do great things with your elementary school.
So thank you for what you all are doing. But I would encourage you, now is the time to take a stand for the word. Now is the time to take a stand for what is true.
And I think that one of the things that we've seen more and more is teachers feeling like they have way too much flexibility, on the one hand, to proselytize, based on a particular ideology or worldview. And on the other hand, we have Christian teachers of faith who are being told they need to do the same thing. And I would just encourage you that that's not your responsibility.
And one of the encouraging messages I always like to give to teachers is, the weight of the education of our children is not primarily your responsibility. It's mine, as a Father. It's my wife's, as a mother. And I think the best teachers are those who recognize that education, be it public or private, is an opportunity to partner with parents in the raising of their children. Not to replace it, but to partner with parents.
And some of that, parents, is a call to you again, to be involved. I know we like to think that when we drop them off at school, now they're their problem. That is far from a biblical understanding of what we should be doing as parents. And so while I encourage you teachers to keep up the good work, to push back, and to not go along with what is being forced upon you in many cases, I also want to call on you parents to get involved and to support your teachers, to let them know that you stand with them, and you have their back.
Lenya, what do you say to people who know that something needs to be done? They want to do something, but they don't know what to do. What's the next step?
I like to say, pray that God will open your eyes. So you're saying they do know it, so you have seen something, whatever the situation is. And then the next thing is, God, what can I do?
And so that's kind of what I did when I saw ISIS in 2014. God what can I do? And He gave me an unusual plan. And then I kept saying yes to God. I would look for the next thing, look for the next thing, and I kept saying yes.
And look, in James it says, pure and undefiled religion is this, that you care for orphans and widows. So when I'm looking at ISIS and orphan and widows and I pray, Lord can I help the orphans and widows? He's probably going to say yes to that prayer.
And there are so many things that if you know the word, as Cissie has said, and you see a situation, and you ask Him to bring a biblical solution, you're more than likely going to be in a "yes case scenario," not a best case scenario. Although it is, with the word at your back.
So just do the next thing He shows you to do. And it can be so simple. I mean, I'm the kind of person, if I see someone in line who can't pay for their groceries, I just pray and I go, you know, Lord, let me pay for those groceries. If I see someone crying, I will stop and say, can I pray for you?
And so be engaged. Do something.
But, what do you do when you face an obstacle? And I'm asking you. No, I didn't ask that yet. You answered it right. This is a follow up question.
You passed. Good job!
So, yes you, got an A, so far on the test. But the follow up question, what about when you face an obstacle? And I'm asking you that in particular, because you're not good at taking no for an answer. Right? You want to work that to a yes.
Yes! You know my terminology. I always work my no to a yes.
People want to get involved, but then there's obstacles. So?
That's really good. Well I do pray. And I look for another way. Honestly that is what I do.
What's that? Cissie, you were going to say something?
There she is with her rhyming. Pray and find another way.
It's part of being a preacher. So, I don't know.
OK. We'll move on.
I got stuck on that. Sorry.
Sorry I just threw that out at you.
Cissie, you have a podcast called Fearless, and I think it's sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It's a good podcast. I've listened to it a few times. And not that that makes it good. But I'm just saying it is good. It's very well received. It's popular.
But here's the full title-- Fearless Faith in a Compromising Culture. So the question for you is, what are the biggest areas of compromise that you see going on among Christians?
I think one of the greatest compromises is that, as a church, as a whole, that we're fearing man more than we fear God. And meaning this, like, what is the fear of God? It's that we take him seriously, that he is a Holy God and that He loves us.
To know the characteristics, like I said, that you have to know God so you can stand in strength and take action on that day that God calls you to take action. When you're facing this giant, or you're facing this obstacle, and you pray that the Holy Spirit shows you, the Holy Spirit is going to take you back to God's word, so that you can take that action.
So I see the compromise is that we're fearing the church. We're fearing this cancel culture. We as a church don't want to be labeled a bigot or hateful. So with good intentions, we're kind of compromising. And with that comes the biblical illiteracy. We don't know God's word to stand in strength.
But I think a few of the things we're seeing and compromising is progressive Christianity. I think it's one of the most dangerous things we're seeing inside the church. And I used to think progressive Christianity was just maybe a kind of a young hip church, that maybe they talk a lot about grace, and maybe not a whole lot of truth, but maybe good intentions and good church. No. Progressive Christianity has a whole different theology. And they are aggressive. And they are there to deconstruct your faith. Their theology is, they don't believe this is the authoritative word of God.
Yeah, explain deconstruct a little bit.
I mean these are churches. I know friends that went to Liberty with me that-- pastor's kids, with wonderful, godly parents, that grew up in a church for 20 something years-- and in three months go to a progressive church, and everything they knew they've walked away from. Because they are to question, is Jesus the Son of God? Is this the authoritative word of God? They don't believe those things.
And we used to think it was like far out, but it's right here. They're coming. That's how Satan works, right? He's coming inside the church and dividing from within. And they are redefining terms. And so with progressive Christianity, they are acceptance of things like, love wins, right? Because it sounds right. You can have your cake and eat it too with progressive Christianity.
What do they mean by, love wins? Because it sounds so good love does win.
Yeah, and they think you can have your cake and eat it too, right? They do believe homosexuality can be holy before God. And we see that with Christian leaders saying that on social media. And once again you go back to, what does God's word say about these issues? And let me tell you, you can do it with grace, and you can do it with truth. Because Jesus Christ was 100% grace. He was 100% truth.
It's 2021. We all know, we all love somebody that's a part of the LGBT community, whether it's a family member or a friend. But, we just don't accept it, because, what is it? We love them. We want them to know the truth. How they can be redeemed. That there's a way for them to heaven. That Jesus Christ loves them. But they've also redefined terms, like a social justice versus a biblical justice, right? And like Lenya said, they're redefining the terms as the world would define these terms about a social justice. And we know due to Psalms that the foundation of God's throne is justice and righteousness. And we don't need to as a church go by the definitions of the world.
That's a quick overview
No, that's a good answer.
The other thing they do is they spin things around. So, they will call certain items spiritual abuse. I've seen people say they came to a seminar on purity, and they were talking about purity, and that that was spiritual abuse, to make me feel like, Oh my gosh you--
We're all a victim or--
Yes. And so it's really spinning, and saying that if you believe the Ten Commandments, it's spiritual abuse. And so it's really crafty, tricky stuff. It's a slippery slope.
It's very dangerous. And I would just be preparing for your children that are going off to college to be careful, be prayerful. There's great books-- Alicia Childers, it's called Another Gospel, because that's what they're preaching-- a different gospel. To be active with their kids' lives on that issue. It's dangerous.
Vince, I want to turn toward you for a moment. I want you to look ahead and describe some of the battles that as Christians we should be aware of that are coming our way.
I think over the past 18 months, we've really seen a push against religious freedom, religious liberty. We've experienced some of that here in New Mexico and across the country. I do want to just take a moment to acknowledge that we have had some significant victories at the US Supreme Court reaffirming our First Amendment rights to worship the Lord as we would see fit. And that's something to be very, very thankful for. It wasn't necessarily expected.
But as I look forward to what is happening, not only here in our state and our nation, I think parental rights is going to be a huge thing moving forward. We're seeing more and more cases of the government coming in, and not only interfering with the rights of parents. But we're in some cases seeing those rights completely stripped away, especially in the areas of education and health care, and it's something for us to be aware of.
I also believe that, on the abortion issue, which is the reason that I have stayed engaged in New Mexico politics for so long, that's my number one issue. Call me a litmus test voter. Call me a one issue voter. The termination of 62 million lives over the past five decades in our country, I believe, is one of the biggest atrocities in our history. And I think it's up to us as the people of God to continue to speak the truth in love, which means being honest with women and young men who are facing unplanned pregnancies. To come alongside them, to serve them, to love them, to let them know that there is another way. We can do that by supporting great organizations like Care Net, who I've worked with in the past.
But the abortion issue, I really feel, is just really getting started. We've seen some positive momentum. We saw the Texas Heartbeat Law take effect not too long ago. The initial challenge from Planned Parenthood was unsuccessful, but that battle is ongoing. And I think one of the things we need to be prepared for in New Mexico is a rush of people to New Mexico to take advantage of the fact that we do not have laws like that on the books. I'm not sure if you all are aware of this, but if Roe is ever overturned, that does not mean that abortion becomes illegal. It returns that right to the state. And right now, we live in a state where it is currently legal to have an abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy, right up to the moment of birth.
If you have a minor daughter, moms and dads, they can be taken to an abortion clinic by someone other than you and receive an abortion without your knowledge, without your consent. That's the state that we live in and we're already seeing droves of women coming over from Texas to take advantage of our lax laws. In fact our state was recently featured in a television show about a young woman who was not able to get an abortion in Mississippi. And so she and her friend take a road trip to New Mexico to get that abortion. But that's what we're facing.
And I think at the federal level one of the other things I want to just encourage you with is the Supreme Court has agreed to take up a very, very important pro-life case, the Mississippi abortion law that protects unborn children after 50 weeks. The court is expected to hear oral arguments in that case beginning in December, with the decision coming later next year. And many believe that a favorable pro-life opinion in that decision may very well start to undermine and strike a blow to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey which are the two most dominant abortion cases here in the federal government.
But we also know that people are preparing for that. They're actually preparing the abortion lobby. And by the way, they have hundreds of millions of dollars that they use to lobby government officials from Washington all the way to Santa Fe, and they're preparing for that. It's why the governor prioritized the removal of the abortion statute this last session and pushed it through the legislature and signed it into law. It's one of the reasons why President Biden and the Congress is pushing, I believe, one of the most barbaric abortion laws in the history of our country, that would codify legal abortion for any reason through 9 months in all 50 states. That law actually passed the US house of Representatives this week on a near party line vote. And the only reason I invoke party is because I think that the time has come where we have to name names and we have to get specific.
And I would encourage you all, we have a very, very important election coming up here next year. We have a statewide election where we're going to elect a governor, and we're going to elect all 70 members of our state House of Representatives. I would encourage you get to know who the candidates are, and get to know where they stand on that critical issue of life. And then please, please, please vote pro-life. Vote pro-life. Please, vote pro-life.
Vince, how do you answer those who say you're really not pro-life, you're just pro birth? You just care about the birth of that child. You don't care about what happens afterwards.
Yeah, I get that a lot. And in fact, Nate and I were talking in between services. And Nate brought up such a great point. He said, you know when we try to have that type of argument in any other situation, we get accused of gaslighting, right? We're told, no, you can't bring that up. You're deflecting from the primary issue. And I think that's a great example of gaslighting. But not only is it gaslighting, it's just not true. It is not true. We know that statistically Christians both adopt and foster kids, at about twice the rate of nonbelievers. We know that we are the most generous people, versus nonbelievers when it comes to giving. We support great organizations like Care Net and Project Defending Life. Many churches have ministries that are completely devoted to coming alongside young families who are facing unplanned pregnancies. So it's just not a true statement.
But even on its face value, I will say this-- I don't believe that on a moral issue like abortion that you have to be involved in every aspect of it to come down and make a moral statement that killing babies is wrong. We don't allow that in any other type of situation.
So when it comes to trafficking and these other issues, we don't say, well, you can't oppose human trafficking because you're not actually out there rescuing these girls and housing them and providing for them. No it's perfectly acceptable just to say, I think human trafficking is a horrible thing, and I think it needs to go away. The same is true with abortion.
And as much as I would encourage you, church, to be involved and to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this issue, there is nothing wrong-- do not be ashamed, do not apologize for taking the firm position, based on scripture, that life begins at conception, that every life is precious because it is created in the image of God. Abortion is wrong.
Hear, hear. Amen.
Can I come back to my question, just before you go to prayer?
Obstacles are opportunities. And so there may be all these obstacles that we are facing whether it's abortion laws-- but we can go against them. We can pray against them. It's why we're hunting giants, right? When David saw Goliath, he went after him. And he came in the name of the Lord. And I think we can go after some of these bad policies, bad laws. And it's a chance for us to try and take them down, whether it's through our votes, through going up to the capital testifying.
Put your congressmen and senators on speed dial. Call them and complain. Send letters. I mean it's just a chance for us to try and see the Lord and righteousness prevail in our land.
It's good. Thank you, Lenya. Cissie, you're a young woman you're a millennial.
Sometimes we get a bad rap.
No, but you're a good example of a millennial that we're all proud of. You spoke at the RNC. Most millennials never get that opportunity. It was a very eloquent, passionate speech. How can Christians influence public policy?
Well that was a great honor, and I was very thankful for President Trump and his stand on religious liberty. We have never had a president in the history do that. Whether you like him or not, it's the facts. And I'm very thankful for his bold stand.
You have to get involved. And we can. You're very kind in saying we're slaying giants. I don't feel like that. . I'm just a mom who has concerns for the generation. I'm fighting for my children because there's media, some school systems, everything. They're coming after our children. And like I said, we're fighting for the hearts and souls. And so I was a mom who was just fighting for her children.
So wherever God has you, whether it's not in the public light, but wherever it is in your community, that's where God has called you to have a fearless faith in this compromising culture. And we don't need to fear for the future. We can look at America and say, oh we're going to lose all of our freedoms. We don't need to fear that, because God has called our children for such as time as this. He called us as parents and as grandparents to raise this generation to be in the Lord's army, like that video. For our children to be a light in the darkness, and He will give us the ability to do that.
Oh it's so good, so good. And Cissie, you married a fearless husband. Because I'll never forget on the Sea of Galilee when we had an out of control camera drone that we couldn't get back, the NFL player jumped up in the air and grabbed it with those helicopter blades, cut his own hand doing it, but saved the drone. Thank you Corey for that great save. Saving drones all over the world.
We're going to close, because we're overtime. And I'm going to invite the worship team to come up and close in a song. Vince, would you close us in prayer?
Gracious Heavenly Father, we come before You today, and we just thank You for this opportunity to gather corporately in Your presence, to worship and to fellowship with one another. Father, particularly after the tough 18 months that we have had, Father, we are perhaps learning of some of the things that we took for granted, including our corporate worship. And we thank You that on this Sunday, we can come together to sing songs, to worship You, Father, through the preaching and the teaching of Your word, through godly discussion, and fellowship through our giving.
And Father, we also just thank You for the work of this ministry. I thank you for Pastor Skip and Lenya, for their commitment to holding the scripture up, Father, as the authority on which everything is taught and presented at this fellowship. Father I pray that throughout the state of New Mexico today, where churches are gathering, that Your name, Father, would be glorified, that souls would become saved, that more people would come to know the love and grace that is available through Your Son Jesus Christ.
I also thank You for Cissie and Corey and their family. I thank you for the legacy of the Graham family, Father, the giants that they are for the faith though. And Lord I thank You for this opportunity that we have this week to invite our friends, our co-workers our family members to show up at Expo New Mexico to hear an encouraging message of how much You love us, Father. I pray for Reverend Graham, that You would continue to give him the words to speak, Father. That You would begin to prepare hearts and minds for what will be presented. And God we pray that literally hundreds upon hundreds of souls would come to know Jesus Christ as Savior. We pray these things today in His precious and powerful name. Amen.
Amen, Amen. We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us Calvary and my church and just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at church give thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.