joelcrosenberg

All eyes on Turkey: The strange and disturbing cases of Pastor Andrew Brunson and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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Oct 122018
 

TURKEY-US-POLITICS-JUSTICE-RELIGION-DIPLOMACY(Colorado Springs, Colorado) — As I finish several weeks of speeches and meetings in the U.S. and prepare to return to Israel, I’ve been following two very different and yet strangely linked stories. Both are drawing global media attention. Both involve Turkey and the regime of Turkish President Recep Erdogan. And both deserve your attention and prayer. Let me explain.

Story #1: Andrew Brunson, the American Evangelical Christian pastor that the Turkish government arrested and kept in prison for more than two years, was finally set free today. The latest reports are that Brunson is on his way out of Turkey back to freedom in the United States.

Evangelicals have been praying for years for Brunson’s protection and release. I thank the Lord those prayers have been answered, and am grateful for all the White House, State Department and other senior U.S. officials have done to secure the pastor’s release.

Story #2: Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist at times close to the royal family in Riyadh and more recently quite critical, has disappeared in Turkey. It seems clear from closed circuit TV evidence that Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. It is not clear, however, that he ever left. The Saudis say he did. The Turks say he didn’t. The Saudis have not yet offered video proof that he left. The Turks have not yet offered any evidence that something sinister actually occurred. I am praying for Khashoggi’s safety, protection and freedom, and ask you to join me in those prayers.

That said, let’s be clear: the Turkish media is filled with macabre tales that the Saudis have either arrested Khoshoggi and secreted him out of the consulate back to the Kingdom, or even murdered and dismembered him with a bone saw. Global media — including the U.S. media — has run with the wildest leaks and unnamed, unsourced quotes from Turkish officials. Such officials anonymously say they have all kinds of hard, factual, intelligence proving the most sinister of actions by the Saudis, yet they have released nothing concrete or compelling so far.

Indeed, as I write this, all we actually know for certain is that the Saudi journalist is missing. Nearly everything else is conjecture.

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If the Turkish allegations are true, this would be a very serious and disturbing turn of events. And the consequences could lead into uncharted waters for the Saudis.

President Trump, Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo — along with many House and Senate members — have rightly called for a full and transparent investigation by both countries. If Khashoggi is alive, where is he? If not, what happened?

We need answers. We need facts. Then we can assess such information and draw conclusions and implications. Someone is lying. But whom?

What we don’t need are wild, unsourced allegations by one U.S. ally in the Middle East against another, both of whom deeply distrust, even despise, each other.

We should certainly be cautious about accepting unproven allegations from the government of Erdogan, which is steadily turning against the United States, Israel and the Sunni Arab world and allying itself with Russia, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Keep in mind: for more than two years, Erdogan’s government has made the most brutal, heinous, and slanderous allegations against this innocent American Evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson. Yet the allegations were all false. Several so-called “witnesses” have now recanted. The charges were ultimately thrown out. Thank God, Brunson is now a free man. But in the process we have learned just how horrible the Turkish government can be.

Is Turkey telling the truth this time about Khashoggi? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Until we see hard facts, we should be slow to make any judgments. Let’s take a breath. Let’s let the investigation play out. And let’s not stop praying for Mr. Khashoggi and his family.

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Where will war break out next — Russia, Iran, North Korea? I’ll address this question on October 6th in Denver. Please register today to join us. Ticket required to attend.

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Oct 012018
 

MA-2018fundraiser

On Saturday evening, October 6th, I will speak in the Denver, Colorado area.

The topic of my address will be, “FLASH POINTS: WHERE WILL THE NEXT MAJOR WAR BREAK OUT?”

We’ll discuss the rising tensions between the Iranian-Syrian-Turkish axis and the emerging U.S.-Israeli-Sunni Arab alliance. We’ll examine the trendlines in Europe and the possibility of a conflagration between Russia and NATO. We’ll also consider the latest developments in Asia and whether North Korea is really looking to make peace or just buying time to complete its nuclear and ballistic missile program. 

I’ll share insights from my recent meetings with Vice President Mike Pence, Egyptian President el-Sisi, the Saudi and United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and others.

We will not only consider these and other “flash points” from a geopolitical perspective but from a spiritual perspective, as well. What doors may the Lord be opening for the furtherance of the Gospel, and what doors seem to be closing? How can we in North America strengthen the Church on the frontiers of the Gospel, and help fulfill the Great Commission in light of rapidly changing global conditions?

The occasion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc. This is the ministry that my parents — Len and Mary Rosenberg — started nearly two decades ago to provide architectural services for Evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, medical missionary hospitals, and other facilities to share the love of Jesus and teach the Word of God.

As the event begins, my parents will share about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry and how you can be involved prayerfully and financially. Then, I’ll speak, take your questions — my favorite part of the evening — and afterwards I’ll sign books.

The event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:00pm to 9:15pm. Doors will open at 6:15pm. A contribution of $30 per person is requested to help support Ministry Architecture. Contributions are tax deductible. Registration is required, and you can register at www.ministryarchitecture.com.

Please register today to join us — yes, you can purchase a ticket at the door, but it’s best to register online. I hope to see you there!

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I was honored to meet with Egyptian President el-Sisi and a group of Evangelical leaders in NYC this week. It was a follow-up session to our historic meeting with him in Cairo last November. (Here are the details of who was there and what we discussed.) #PrayForEgypt

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Sep 282018
 

DELEGATION-EgyptNYC-Sept2018

(New York City) — With my new political thriller, The Persian Gamble, now finished and fully edited, I’ve been in Manhattan this week for meetings on the sidelines of the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Countering the threat posed by radical Islamists — the ayatollahs of Iran chief among them — has been the main topic of our discussions. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the need to advance religious freedom in the region have been key themes, as well.

Among the leaders I’ve met with are Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba, and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The longest and most in-depth meeting was with Egyptian President el-Sisi, whom I first met in Washington last April and who invited me to bring a delegation of Evangelical leaders to Cairo to get to know him last November. It was great to see him again. He couldn’t have been more warm or more open to talking candidly about these and other critical issues.

It was also fun to present him a copy of my recent novel, Without Warning, and to tell him that in the novel, an Egyptian president plays a critical role in working with the U.S., Israel, Jordan and the UAE to hunt down the world’s most wanted terrorist. He loved it and asked me to personally sign it for him. Given that his English is excellent, I’m hoping he’ll have some time to read it soon, perhaps on the flight home.

That said, here is the press release our group issued describing our meeting…. 

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT EL-SISI MEETS WITH EVANGELICAL DELEGATION FOR A FOLLOW UP DISCUSSION IN NYC DURING U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Provides Update on Progress Since Historic First Meeting In Cairo Last Year, Including Fight Against Terrorism & Extremism and Protect Religious Freedom

NEW YORK CITY, September 28, 2018 – Amidst meetings with world leaders this week, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met with a delegation of American Evangelical leaders for a follow-up meeting in his New York hotel on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Sisi is in Manhattan for the opening of the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly.

President el-Sisi wanted to continue the conversation he began with Evangelicals at the Presidential Palace in suburban Cairo last November. During the 90-minute meeting, he provided an update on progress since that historic first-ever meeting with the Christian leaders. 

Among the topics discussed — the government’s increasingly successful efforts to:

  • counter terrorism and religious and ideological extremism
  • protect churches from terrorist attack
  • protect freedom of religion for people of all faiths
  • quietly assist in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and
  • strengthen Egypt’s strategic alliance with the United States.

Participating in the meeting was Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Director General for General Intelligence Abbas Kamel, and presidential spokesman Bassam Rady.

The President said he was encouraged by the improving level of coordination and consultation between Egypt and the U.S. at various levels on security and economic matters, and said Egyptians are seeing the fruit of the government’s reform efforts, including improved economic growth, lower unemployment, and increased tourism.

“Mr. President, you are defeating the terrorists and the dangerous ideology that fuels them,” said Dr. Mike Evans, who was a member of the delegation who traveled to Cairo last Fall. “Fighting terrorism is a human right. You liberated Egypt from the tyranny of the Muslim Brotherhood. You’re making Egypt safer and more prosperous for everyone, and we applaud you for it.”

“We’re making progress, but don’t stop praying for us,” the President replied.

Joel C. Rosenberg, the New York Times best-selling author who led the delegation last year at the President’s invitation, quoted a verse from the New Testament during the discussion.

“Jesus told us, ‘You will know them by their fruits.’ (Matthew 7:16, New American Standard Bible). We as Evangelical Christians are not simply listening to your speeches. We are watching what you do. You’re not claiming to be perfect. But we see you making progress on many fronts. Just this month, you’ve appointed two Christian governors, including the first-ever woman Christian governor. You’re rebuilding churches that were burned or damaged by the Muslim Brotherhood. You’re building a large new church in your new administrative capital. You’re working closely with Israel to fight terrorists in the Sinai. And you’re doing everything possible to improve conditions in Gaza and jump-start the stalled peace process. This isn’t rhetoric. These are specific and positive actions. You’ve got an important story to tell, but more people need to hear it.”

President el-Sisi thanked the delegation for their words of reassurance and support, opining that, other than discussions with President Trump and Vice President Pence, “this was the most encouraging discussion of the many meetings I have had since arriving in the United States this week.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Dr. Evans (founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team and the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem) and Mr. Rosenberg (New York Times best-selling author) organized the delegation of American Evangelical leaders.

Others included:

  • Hon. Michele Bachmann, former U.S. Member of Congress
  • Michael Little, former President and COO of The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and Board Chair of the National Religious Broadcasters
  • Jay Strack, President and Founder of Student Leadership University
  • A. Larry Ross, President of A. Larry Ross Communications
  • Wayne Pederson, Reach Beyond Global Ambassador

(Photo credit: Office of the Egyptian President) 

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REMINDER: On Saturday evening, October 6th, I will speak in the Denver, Colorado area. The topic of my address will be, “FLASH POINTS: WHERE WILL THE NEXT MAJOR WAR BREAK OUT?” Please register today to join us. It’s the only other public speaking event I’ll be doing on this visit to the U.S., and I’d love to see you there.

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What every Evangelical needs to know about Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Sunni Arab world & the future of the Middle East. (Video of my address to the Values Voter Summit as broadcast on C-SPAN.)

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Sep 232018
 

ValuesVoterSummit-Joel2018

(Washington, D.C.) — This weekend I had the honor to address the Values Voter Summit here in the nation’s capital, attended by thousands of Evangelical Christian leaders and grassroots activists.

C-SPAN broadcast the Summit live. You can watch my address by clicking here.

It was a joy to meet with and spend time discussing the trend lines in the Middle East with many dear friends, including Vice President Mike Pence, Family Research Council Chairman Tony Perkins, U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback whom I’ve known for a quarter of a century, and former Congressman Frank Wolf. Rep. Wolf is a genuine hero of mine and  he was honored at a special gala dinner for his three decades of work fighting for religious liberty and against the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo kicked off the Friday afternoon session, giving an excellent and encouraging address on the administration’s efforts to advance religious liberty around the globe and truly make this issue a top U.S. foreign policy priority. 

As the closing speaker of the afternoon session, I was asked to share my observations as an Evangelical follower of Jesus living in Jerusalem of the latest trend lines and key leaders in the Mideast, including:

  • Egyptian President el-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the Delegation of Evangelical leaders I took to Cairo and Amman last November.
  • The new Saudi Crown Prince and the important reforms he is pursuing.
  • The leaders of the United Arab Emirates, one of the least discussed but most interesting American allies in the region.
  • And the rising Iran threat — including Russia’s dangerous alliance with Iran — and how this is fundamentally reshaping the geopolitics of the region.

I’ve not made a full transcript of my remarks, but here are a few excerpts:

  • These [Sunni Arab] countries realize that the threat to the region is not the United States, it’s not Israel even, it’s not Christianity — it’s Iran and Iran’s radical Islamism. And it’s causing a fundamental recalculation of every leader in that region, ‘Who is my friend and who is my foe?’….
  • Now, I make things up in novels. But this is real life. Things are happening — Russia is forming an alliance with Iran, Turkey, Qatar. So, to the north, wickedness, evil, danger. To the south, something new: an American, Israeli, Sunni Arab alliance. It’s not perfect. It’s not fully formed. But something is happening that has never happened in history.
  • We need to encourage it. We need to nurture it. We need to be grateful that this current administration understands it in a way that the last administration certainly did not.
  • And we need to continue to pray — for peace in the region, peace for Jerusalem, and that we can be salt and light in every aspect of life, from foreign policy to human rights and the gospel most importantly….

I do hope you’ll watch and share the full address — it runs about 25 minutes.

Later today, I head to New York City for meetings with a number of world leaders on the sidelines of the opening Fall session of the United Nations General Assembly. I’d be grateful for your prayers this week, and will report what I can when I can.

REMINDER: On Saturday evening, October 6th, I will speak in the Denver, Colorado area. The topic of my address will be, “FLASH POINTS: WHERE WILL THE NEXT MAJOR WAR BREAK OUT?” Please register today to join us. It’s the only other public speaking event I’ll be doing on this visit to the U.S., and I’d love to see you there.

[Note: Though the C-SPAN graphic mentions The Joshua Fund, I was speaking at the Summit as a private individual, not in my capacity as TJF’s Founder. TJF is a strictly non-partisan, non-political organization.]

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