A Call to Reopen America's Churches - part 2 (Transcript)
Dr. Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.
Roger Marsh: Well, welcome everyone. Today we are concluding a fascinating new interview Dr. Dobson conducted a few weeks ago with Pastor Brian Gibson. He is a minister from Kentucky who is spearheading a movement to reopen churches across the country. In the past few weeks, many states have allowed businesses, shops, and restaurants to return to basically normal operation. However, yesterday, as Pastor Brian pointed out, many places of worship remain on the nonessential list. He and many other leaders view this designation as religious intolerance and unconstitutional. In just a moment, Pastor Brian Gibson continues addressing how he is rallying support behind this monumental cause. There's a lot to get to, so here now is the conclusion of Dr. Dobson's recent interview with Pastor Brian Gibson here on Family Talk, a ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute.
Dr. Dobson: I'm sure you remember or know about the Black Robe Regiment in the Revolutionary War.
Brian Gibson: Yes, sir.
Dr. Dobson: For those of our listeners who don't know about that, the issue of religious liberty is what led to pilgrims to come to our shores to escape persecution, and repression of worship lead the pastors, a couple of hundred years later, to strip off their black robes and join the war against the British. It was when religious liberty was threatened that they were willing to go to war. And I just hope there're pastors out there today who will fight for constitutional liberty, for the First Amendment, and for religious liberty. We're at a real turning point, aren't we?
Brian Gibson: Yes, sir. I believe this is probably the most important time I've ever seen in my life for the future of our nation. And we do need men like the Black Robe Regiment to stand up. If you think about the heroes of the Revolutionary War we think about, we think about Adams, we think about Washington, we think about Jefferson, and they were true heroes. But if you were to read the writings of those men, they point to pastors, both white and African American, that stood up and thundered against the injustices of King George for 20 years, whenever Paul Revere rode back saying the British is coming, he was riding to his pastor's house.
And then there were guys like the Muhlenberg brothers. The Muhlenberg brothers, one of them got up and said, began to preach out of Ecclesiastes, "There's a time for peace and a time war." And he led his men out to war. His other brother vehemently opposed him. Said, "Don't do it. You're crazy. This is terrible." Well, the other brother, the British come into his town, they take away his church, they drive him from the city, and they take his ability to lead his flock away. The British did that to him because he'd spoke against the Church of England.
Brian Gibson: Now, they say that that First Amendment, the Muhlenberg brothers, that preacher, he even became one of the biggest proponents of the Revolutionary War and the First Amendment where it says government cannot establish a state religion nor oppose the free worship of others, that those guys were behind that. See, they felt the effect of government coming against the church, and that's why these men were willing to go to war for their congregations and for their country. They were pastors. They were patriots. And I'm believing God for a new Black Robe Regiment to stand up around America, because we've been pushed into a corner, we've been told to be quiet, we've been told we can't be political. I believe it's not being political, I believe it's being prophetic, and there's a time to speak, and we need more preachers that stop wanting to be boy band type stars and start wanting to be men of God who speak against injustice and speak for righteous.
Dr. Dobson: It's obvious that it's not just the virus they're concerned about. They're trying to limit the church. This is an attack on the institution of the church.
Brian Gibson: It's really not about controlling the virus, it's about controlling the people. And I hate to say it, but the liberal governors hate the voice of the church because we stand for life, we stand for traditional values, we stand for the things that make America, America, and they would love to have a button to turn our voice off. And I'll tell you what, my voice doesn't get turned off. And I'm thankful for the pastors and the preachers whose voices, they won't allow them to turn them off. So this is happening all over America.
Brian Gibson: Now, we saw a great victory in Illinois. Illinois is now free from this type of tyranny. We worked with some dear people. They were Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church. I was with them a week or two ago. I think it was a week ago. It's all flying so fast it's running together in my mind. But Pastor Cristian Ionescu is the pastor. The Mayor of Chicago, listen to this, threatened him with something called total abatement. I'd never heard of it. Had to have an attorney explain it to me. He'd never heard of it. And what total abatement means is, "We can condemn you as a public hazard. We can come in and tear down your building without due process." Those are the kind of threats that are being issued against churches.
Dr. Dobson: That is unbelievable.
Brian Gibson: He was running the services only at 15% capacity, and she overplayed her hand. We got loud in the media about what she'd done. And I believe the Governor of Illinois saw what was going to happen to him politically if he didn't do something. He was going to have to go before Kavanaugh, would be looking at the case the next day. The Governor of Illinois backed off and said the churches can do what they want in the State of Illinois. That was going to be one of the toughest states in the union to win. And I'll tell you what, Jesus fixed it in a day. And I'm believing Jesus is going to fix it in California and the other states that are still mistreating the church.
Dr. Dobson: Tell me about your church. How are you doing? What'd you do on Pentecost Sunday?
Brian Gibson: Yes, sir. We've been running... We went back on the 17th, so we've been running three weeks now, and Pentecost Sunday was great. What we're seeing, and I think what most people are seeing that are bringing church back together, is we're seeing about a third of our congregations coming back in person. I think they were a little more scared this weekend because there were so many protests.
Dr. Dobson: Tell me about that. Do you mean outside your church they were actually protesting you?
Brian Gibson: No, not me, just in our city.
Dr. Dobson: I see.
Brian Gibson: Both in Amarillo and Owensboro. So you have all these images on the news and people are leery to get out. So I think that's probably hurting church attendance right now just because of the fear factor. Our church, it's showing up about a third in person. And then we've asked those that are 65 or older, with preexisting conditions to stay at home. We don't tell them to, because if I tried to tell my mother what to do, it's never going to work, Dr. Dobson, right? And so some of them are still online or in the parking lot.
But I think a lot of churches are seeing about a third of their crowds show up. And I see this as a six month reentry period, and that's okay. We want it to be safe. But the main point is it's not about just getting everybody back at once. The main point is the government doesn't get to tell us what to do. The government doesn't make the decision for us. We are the church. We are the people, we elect them. They don't lord over us. They are not the ruling caste. We are not the peasants. This is not England. This is why we had a 1776. And I'll tell you, they keep it up and we're going to need another one.
Dr. Dobson: Well, Brian, I'm sure you're aware that President Trump has spoken out in defense of religious liberty, and especially the church. I have a quote that was released from the White House just a couple of weeks ago, and let me read it. "Governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now for this weekend. Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but not churches," he said, "It's not right, so I'm correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united," he added. So I appreciated the stance that he took. It really was in support of the thing you, Brian, and other pastors are trying to defend. Hey, let me take you back to earlier in our conversation where you said that you were a guest on Fox News. You've actually been on Fox News three times, haven't you?
Brian Gibson: I think it was more than that. I think it was four or five times. It's all run together now. So I did a... Yeah, I was on. They covered me, then I was on Fox & Friends First, then I was on Fox & Friends, and then I was on Harris Faulkner. So it's been four times with Fox, and they've been great to work with and just asking us the questions, "What are you doing to keep people safe?" And we have our protocols. And then, "Why have you done this?" And it's obvious, to stand up for religious liberties and the First Amendment. And I'm still calling, they allowed me and helped me so much to call for every pastor, every rabbi, every religious leader, they need to go to peacefullygather.com, they need to sign up to take their church, take their house of worship back together safely and sanely. It's time to do it, because if we don't do it now and we don't stand up now and if we're not a united voice now, what's going to happen in the future?
So yeah, the media coverage has been incredible. I did Governor Huckabee's show, was on this last week. And what a prince of a man. I had an incredible time with Governor Huckabee. But it's been a real honor and a real privilege to meet some of the people I've met. And it's also been heartwarming to see that people cared that you would stand up and that you did care about religious freedom in America. We have more friends with us than we realize. There are more with us, I believe, that there are against us. It's been, it's been an honor to be on some of those shows. And I'll tell you what, I was terrified. This is a funny story.
I was traveling by RV to go to Kentucky and I had my laptop set up. I was getting ready to do Fox & Friends before we kicked open our churches. So I do my sound check and then the guy driving my RV tries to pull over to get me into a good spot. And when he did, my laptop falls off and breaks in two. So I'm supposed to be live in like five minutes, I've just broke my laptop. So I get an iPad set up, I get it working and then I get myself back to it. And my kids are with me. I have three small children and – well I have a 14-year-old, a 10 and an eight-year-old. And while I'm doing Fox & Friends, my 10-year-old boy jumps out from behind the side and starts dancing to throw me off behind the laptop while I'm doing Fox & Friends. So, Dr. Dobson, would you tell me how to handle that?
Dr. Dobson: I think you're doing it very well, I tell you. It's incredible. So you got a fair shake from Fox News.
Brian Gibson: Fox News was fair. I felt like they were fair, I felt like they were balanced, and it was an honor working with them. It really was, yes, sir.
Dr. Dobson: Brian, did you ever think this would happen to you? You're just out there in a fairly small town, 50,000 people, and trying to do the work of a pastor and building a church. All of a sudden you're on national television and people are aware of who you are. I hope more, no, I don't want to create problems for you, but how can people write to encourage you if they have something they want to... I'd like them to tell you they're praying for you.
Brian Gibson: Well, I would... I'll tell you what, we have on peaceablygather.com, there's a place for pastors to sign up. There's also a place for people to sign up a petition that they support us. And they're going back to church, right? In some shape, form or fashion, but they're with us. They can also send us information at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. That would be great. And just peaceablygather.com. You got to be careful. And sometimes that gets moved so far down the line. People don't understand this, but a lot of the big tech agencies, when they find out what you're about, they don't like you and they try to cover up and hide and make it hard for people to find your sites. So, it's peaceably, P-E-A-C-E-A-B-L-Y, gather, G-A-T-H-E-R .com. So they could hit us there or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Dobson: Let's make sure everybody understands. You're not trying to be medically unwise. You're not going to pack your church with people shoulder to shoulder and have people who are a little older sitting next to somebody that's younger, everybody being nervous about the virus. What about masks? Are you requiring people to wear masks?
Brian Gibson: I'll tell you what, all of my ushers and all of my workers are wearing masks. I'm not requiring everyone in our congregations to wear them. We have encouraged those 65 and older, precondition, watch online or stay in the parking lot. We'll serve you communion there. There's a large space between people. We have our seating arranged in such a way where you sit with your family, and then you're social distanced from everybody else. So we've said we need to be caring, we need to be compassionate, but we need to be constitutional and exercise our rights. Plus, I'll say with the mask, I'm not a scientist, I'm not a medical expert, but there's conflicting information about the masks. Dr. Fauci comes out one time and says, "The mask will do you no good." Next time, Dr. Fauci comes out and says, "Wear the masks." I don't know. Our ushers are wearing them but I'm not going to make people wear them.
Dr. Dobson: Well, how can people pray for you, Brian?
Brian Gibson: I'll tell you, I think they need to pray God to give me strength and wisdom. I want them to pray for the freedom of the church in America. I want them to pray that sanity would prevail. And I want them to pray that this violence would stop. More than anything else we need this violence to stop. And I'm also asking ministers around the nation, organize prayer rallies, go to your courthouse steps, and I think we need to pray together for peace. And it needs to not just be the white church or the black church or the Hispanic church. It needs to be us all together, praying together. So come on, we need to gather together and pray for this danger to leave our nation.
Dr. Dobson: Well, we need to let our listeners know that the noise that they hear in the background is from the fact that you're in LAX in Los Angeles, at the airport, and you are about to take a plane. Where are you headed?
Brian Gibson: Yes, sir. I'm heading to Louisville, Kentucky. The way the airports are so messed up - or the airlines are so messed up, I'll go to Dallas, Texas, tonight, where I can get to Louisville by tomorrow for one of these rallies where I'll be praying with the Mayor of Kentucky, and I'll be praying with a lot of different faith leaders. So I apologize for the background noise.
Dr. Dobson: That's no problem for us, but are you not afraid to fly? A lot of people are afraid to fly today.
Brian Gibson: Well, a lot of people are afraid to fly. I prefer not to, but I think that this hour is calling me to do it, and I wanted to stand with brothers in California who've been so persecuted, so pushed against, so mistreated, whenever they were opening up on Pentecost Sunday. I've been working with them, talking with them, that I flew out to be with them. And so I'll tell you what, I believe this, Dr. Dobson. I believe living to not die is not living at all. So I don't live in fear. I try to live in faith. I don't want to do stupid stuff, but I'm not going to focus on the 0.24% of what could go wrong. I'm going to focus on the 99% that can go right, kind of guy.
Dr. Dobson: My goodness. I'm so glad to get acquainted with you. We're going to have to meet face to face at some time. I just appreciate you. You're a courageous man, a defender of Jesus Christ and his church and of religious liberty and all of its context, and I wish we had about 15 million just like you out there who are defending what we believe. And thank you for talking with us today. I pray that the Lord will go with you as you take this next challenge, and lead you in what to do next. They're going to lay traps for you. You said it the first day that we talked, you said that they tried to lead you into some kind of trap that would embarrass you. Is that still going on?
Brian Gibson: Oh yes, sir. Yes, sir. People try things like that. And one of the... And it's so obvious, you never do this, but they'll hit you and harass you on social media, try to pull you into something like that. So you never respond to that. You don't respond to that because you know somebody wants a screenshot of you saying something angry or something that could be deemed inappropriate, and that goes out. The second thing is, they'll start trying to take pictures of you, maybe not socially distanced from somebody else or you're standing too close. And you know, they're just looking for anything.
Dr. Dobson: It's the social war, isn't it?
Brian Gibson: It's a social war and it's a camera happy group of people that are always looking to do something to somebody else. And so we just really have to be vigilant, wise as serpents and harmless as doves. And I'm not going to live in fear and I'm not going to let that control me, but I am just watchful. So pray for us that... Jesus went through this, right? I mean, this was Jesus's life.
Dr. Dobson: They hated him, too.
Brian Gibson: Yeah, they tried to trap him all the time, and some of the best parts of the gospel – I mean the gospel's all good. Amen? It's good news. But I love to watch him turn their traps on them. So pray that I have wisdom, the wisdom of Jesus that turns the person that lays the snare, the trap back upon them. Although I wish no one harm. I don't want to be trapped. I want to be... I don't want to ever embarrass the gospel.
Dr. Dobson: Well, there was an article about you. It was called the Blaze article. It was on May 11th. And this is a quote from you. You made reference to this a few minutes ago, but it said, "Gibson said, 'I believe that Jesus is a lamb, but he's also a lion,' before calling on pastors around the country to be lions and to stand up and roar." You're doing that wonderfully and our prayers and regards and love are with you. Give my regards to your family. Your wife is in this thing too, isn't she?
Brian Gibson: Yes, sir. But my wife's been right beside me in everything we do. And I say this all the time about her. She's actually the better speaker amongst the two of us. I say I'm the work horse and she's the show horse. So yeah, she's in the middle of it with me and I've never fought a war without her right by my side. And I don't think I would be anywhere close to where I am, I don't know if I would still be alive without my wife, so I'm thankful for Jessie and love her with all my heart.
Dr. Dobson: Well, we caught you on a busy day as you're traveling. Thanks for talking to us. Keep us informed of what's going on. And if there are other things that you need to say to the listening audience of Family Talk, you just give me a call, and I look forward to giving you a hug when it's legal to do so.
Brian Gibson: Hey, Dr. Dobson, when this is over, I'll drive to wherever you are. And I sure want to get to shake your hand and meet you. And it's been an honor talking to you, sir. Thank you for your service to the body of Christ and to our nation.
Dr. Dobson: Stay safe.
Brian Gibson: Yes, sir. God bless you.
Dr. Dobson: God bless you.
Roger Marsh: Well, what a timely and relevant conversation about these difficult times facing our nation right now. You've been listening to Dr. James Dobson's interview with Pastor Brian Gibson over the past couple of days here on Family Talk. Be sure to visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org to learn more about Pastor Gibson and the Peaceably Gather Movement. Again, that's drjamesdobson.org, and then click onto the broadcast page. Also, we'd love to hear your thoughts on this two-part conversation. Simply connect with us on Facebook by searching for Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. Once you're there, be sure to leave your comments on today's program or on yesterday's broadcast post. That's Facebook.com, and then search for Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. We look forward to hearing from you. I'm Roger Marsh. Have a blessed day, everyone.
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