Monday, July 18, 2016


republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
July 18, 2016
© 2016
Done under cover of all the global turmoil distractions
On Thursday, July 14, the California Board of Education adopted a framework for a new "LGBT" social studies curriculum that will have national ramifications since textbooks will be written to comply.
Starting in second grade, students must be taught about diverse family types in a positive way and must accept having families with children deprived of a married mother and father is a good thing. In fourth grade they must learnabout the redefinition of marriage and therefore must accept that marriage has nothing to do with children and families; it is merely a lifestyle choice for adults. By high school the focus is on the right to create one's own sexual identity and how people have been doing that throughout history. So far the curriculum sticks to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender lifestyles.
"The greatest concern is that the framework tends to normalize and reinforce things that have led to negative social and human consequences in society such as fatherlessness and children deprived of married mothers and fathers," said William B. May for the Marriage Reality Movement.
"Curricula should be evaluated by how well it promotes men and women marrying before having children, discourages conceiving children with the intention of depriving them of the fundamental right of knowing, being loved by, and being in relationship with their own mother, father or both, and helps children understand the value of true friendship that can lead to stable marriages and families rather than friendships based on sexual relationships that are presented as love."
May emphasized, "It is not enough to oppose the agenda to provide our children with a corrupted understanding of love, sexuality, marriage and family that affects the choices they make in their own lives, we must provide a positive alternative to reframe the dialogue."
"The Marriage Reality Movement starts with reintroducing love and marriage from the beginning to a culture that has forgotten its meaning. It provides parents and others with new ways of explaining the reality of marriage so the young children can understand and explain it to their friends, and it is building a new coalition to take back marriage for our children and family that is defined by clear objectives based on what we are for rather than against."
How young people understand the truth about sexual intimacy, marriage, and family influences the choices they make in their own lives. The culture is feeding them a steady diet of information that is designed to lead them away from the truth. The Marriage Reality Movement first and foremost seeks to “reintroduce” marriage at all levels of society, starting from the beginning.
The California State Board of Education unanimously approved those changes in classroom instruction on Thursday to comply with the nation’s first law requiring public schools to include prominent gay Americans and LGBT rights milestones in history classes, according to LGBTQ Nation.
The website states that updates are part of a broader overhaul of California’s history and social science curriculum. During four hours of public testimony, dozens of speakers criticized the way the framework discusses Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Japan’s use of “comfort women” during World War II, but no one objected to the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
A young high school student, Allyson Chiu, claims she just finished 11th grade at Cupertino High School. She said the revisions would make LGBT students more comfortable. She and seven others spoke in favor of how the guidelines address gay issues.
“My classmates can solve quadratic equations or cite the elements on the periodic table. They can’t tell you who Harvey Milk was or the significance of the Stonewall Riots,” Chiu said.
The California governor has signed into law a bill that will not simply require a “gay history” curriculum. It requires a form of “indoctrination” that will label Christianity as being intolerant and bigoted, one critic says.
“The bill is not about teaching gay history. That’s what the sponsors of the bill are portraying it as. That is not the language of the bill. That is not what it does, that’s not the intent,” William B. May, head of the San Francisco-based Catholics for the Common Good, told CNA on July 15.
While the history of the gay rights movement would be covered in history books as history, he said, the bill’s curriculum standards require “bringing to the attention of students the sexuality of people in history and social studies, who happen to be gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual.”
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on July 14 after it passed the Democrat-controlled legislature on a largely party-line vote.
“We’re disappointed that the governor signed it,” May said. “It’s a troubling precedent for politicians to dictate what’s in textbooks.”
Democratic state Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, the bill’s author, said that teaching gay history in public schools will teach students to be more accepting of gays and lesbians.
“We should not be afraid to teach our children of the broad diversity of human experience,” Sen. Leno said, according to Fox News. “It's not going away, it's always been with us. We have different kinds of people, who are, under law, to be treated equally. Why would we not want to teach our children this?”
“It also has the effect of making sure that they are portrayed in a good light,” May counters. “It’s really an indoctrination bill that is being totally misrepresented by the politicians and by the [news] media.”

LGBT movement organizing to mandate “gay history” in schools across America.

In California already. Starting now in Massachusetts. Their goal is to force it into schools nationwide.


The Problem with Pokémon
July 18, 2016 (first published November 25, 2015 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,;)
The Problem with Pokémon
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.09-1999 & 07-2016
Here We Go Again with Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go becomes global craze as game overtakes Twitter for US users! Pokémon moves into the age of augmented reality using an app on your smartphone. An article in the online edition for the July 12, 2016 the Guardian fills us in on some of the details. Pokémon Go takes “gamers out of the living room and on to the streets as they compete to capture, train and battle Pokémon characters using their mobile phones.” The goal is the same as the card game and video game; players battle and capture the “pocket monsters” in a quest to become the greatest Pokémon trainers. However, unlike the earlier video and card games, “players move around the real world looking for Pokémon to capture.” Quoting the article again - “When the app is opened, it shows a map of the area around the player, with various points of interest marked – statues, clock towers and so on.” Players must physically walk up to one of the points, referred to in the game as a Pokéstop, then tap an icon on screen and you’re rewarded with items and experience points. In addition, a Pokémon creature can appear anywhere at any time. If you have been led to a church, a creature may appear in clerical garb. If you are near a graveyard, a ghostly Pokémon may appear, etc. If you see the creature and tap on it, a mini game starts, and of course the goal is to catch the PokémonWith the REVIVAL of this Occultic game, I want to share with you the following research I did in 1999 when the game first hit the market. 

The History of Pokémon
The name 
Pokémon is derived from pockemonster. Pokémon has entertained Japanese youth since 1995. While it is rare for a Japanese cultural phenomena to be duplicated in the Western world, Pokémon has proved to be the exception. Pokémonhas moved into the United States "BIG TIME" and captured the minds of elementary aged children all over this country. Pokémon is everywhere…Nintendo video games, cartoon shows on television, a movie, comic books, toys, clothing, VHS videos, DVD's, and the wildly popular collector card game. The Pokémon "virus" has infected virtually every media outlet imaginable, and by plan, the "virus" has become an epidemic among elementary aged children causing them to crave and beg for more Pokémonparaphernalia. Countless elementary aged children are obsessed with Pokémon.Measuring Pokémon By The Bible
Without apology, I acknowledge that I am writing this pamphlet from a biblical perspective. And, I believe there is a battle going on for the minds of our children and grandchildren. In fact, Satan and his diabolical hordes want to corrupt the minds of children and adults as well! One of the problems is that Satan is getting the upper hand because Christians are oblivious to the tactics the adversary is using to pollute the minds of men, women, boys and girls. While many Christian adults would catch blatant demonic doctrines, the truth is, Satan seldom mounts a direct assault. Rather, he, through his human helpers, uses subtle, clandestine and deceptive methods to advance his evil doctrines. So, how can we detect these deceptive methods and evil doctrines? 
How can we protect our children and our-selves? The Bible says, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." 1 Thessalonians 5:21. The Bible says, "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" 1 Corinthians 10:31. The Bible says, "…Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." Romans 12:9. Therefore, we must measurePokémon paraphernalia by the principles of the Bible to determine if it is acceptable. Let's do that.What values, beliefs, and philosophies do the game promote?

One of the first things I did was to find out who produced the trading card game. Here is an exact quote right from the Web page of the producer - "The 
Pokémon Trading Card Game is a new collectable Card Game that is made and distributed by Wizards of the Coast. The same company that made the best selling game ... Magic: The Gathering." Magic: The Gathering is a heavily occult laced trading card game very popular in the 1990's. I have a research report titled Beware of Magic: The Gathering that can be viewed on the Logos Web page at
Oh yes, I should mention that 
Wizards of the Coast also owns TSR, the producers of all the Dungeons & Dragons materials. When I discovered who owned the AmericanPokémon Trading Card Game rights, I knew the game was not just an innocent card game for elementary school children.
Next, I looked into the characters in the 
Pokémon video games, comics, cartoons, movies, etc. What kind of values do they have? Ash Ketchum (a boy) is one of the main characters. He is described as "an energetic and determined 10-year-old…a little too competitive." He is obsessed with catching all Pokémon and driven "to become the world's foremost Pokémon Master." Oh yes, you can be sure that the Pokémon Rap song and mantra will be included in the materials --
"I will travel across the land  Searching far and wide  Each Pokemon to understand  
The power that's inside.  Gotta catch them all!"
The last line of the
 Pokémon mantra, "Gotta catch them all!" is used over and over again in Pokémon paraphernalia because it fuels the craving for more cards, games, toys, gadgets, and comic books.
Let's look at another character, Ash's companion 
Misty. She is described as "headstrong and stubborn…constantly quibbling with Ash…and seems to harbor deeper feelings for Ash." Then there is the third member of the trio, Brock who is "by far the most hormonal. Brock's fascination with the opposite sex many times gets him or the group into trouble, although he's yet to have anything resembling a score." Let's take a look at Pokémon trainer Gary. He is "a real jerkself-centered, vindictive andobnoxious. Then there are Jessie & James. Here is how they are described -- "Prepare for trouble, make it double.... Jessie, James…are a mysterious and evil gang looking to steal rare Pokémon. Jessie and James are stuck up, fashion conscious, and prone to cross-dressing."
Headstrong, stubborn, quibbling, self-centered, vindictive, obnoxious, hormonal, sexually preoccupied, evil, thieving, cross-dressing jerks are most definitely not biblical role models! These characters do not portray biblical values. Pokmon does not measure up!
Are supernatural powers portrayed, and if so, what is the source or origin of those powers? Are occult, New Age characteristics or symbols included?

Pokémon has supernatural powers. "Some Pokémon grow, or evolve." This is facilitated by the "Energy cards" that "make your Pokémon bigger and more powerful." And what is the source of this power? It is the pantheistic power of the occult, not the supernatural power of God. I have found two cards that make this very clear (there are likely more). They are Abra and Kadabra. Yes, these are their actual names. "Abrakadabra" (or abracadabra) has been a word long associated with occult magic. Webster's dictionary defines it this way - 1) a word supposed to have magic powers and hence used in incantations, on amulets, etc. 2) a magic spell or formula. It is no accident that the two Pokémon called Abra and Kadabra are psychic cards with magical powers.
On the 
Abra card we read "Using its ability to read minds, it will identify impending danger and teleport to safety." Then there are the occult symbols on Kadabra. He has a pentagram on his forehead, SSS on his chest and he is giving the Satanic salute with his left hand. All of the above have strong occult significance. It is clear from the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) that we are neither to participate in nor associate with activities related to the occult.
Some of the readers will no doubt protest, "it's only a game!" To be sure it is a game, but a game that does not glorify God! When God says something is wrong, it is wrong regardless of what form it is in. Not only that, but many of the kids who play this game 
are seduced into believing the principles that the game subtly teaches. Here is but one example. In the booklet that comes with Pokémon, note what is stated -- "Welcome to the world of Pokémon, a special place where people just like you train to become the number-one Pokémon Master in the World! But what is a Pokémon, you ask. Pokémonare incredible creatures that share the world with humans,' says Professor Oak, the leading authority on these monsters. There are currently 150 documented species ofPokémon (this was in 1999. In 2016 there are 729. You can see the list at
Pokémon has its own special fighting abilities. . . . Some grow, or evolve, into even more powerful creatures.. . . Carry your Pokémon with you, and you're ready for anything! You've got the power in your hands, so use it!"
Listen, kids are carrying around their 
Pokémon like a magic talisman. Author and researcher Berit Kjos tells of a mom who overheard two boys discussing their little pocket monsters. As the conversation developed one boy said, "I'll just use my psychic powers." It was clear that the so called fantasy world of Pokmon had already conditioned this boys thinking to be receptive to a key occult doctrine - psychic powers!Pokémon promotes occult values, not biblical values and therefore should be rejected!Where are the player's thoughts and imagination being directed?

I pointed out earlier that 
Pokémon originated in Japan. What I did not draw to your attention was that a Pokémon Master is a spin off of a martial arts master in Japan.Pokémon Masters are the leaders of fighting schools or battling gangs that solve their problems by beating their opponents. And how do they do this? Their little booklet says, "Some attacks cause the Defending Pokmon to be Asleep, Confused, Paralyzed, or Poisoned."
The Bible warns us to be cautious about what we occupy our minds with (
Proverbs 4:23). The games a child plays, the television programs he watches, and the things that he listens to have a powerful mind shaping influence over that child. Mental health professionals are finally coming to understand what the Bible has said all along -- the things you let into you mind shape your thinking and your thinking directs your actions. This truth was acted out at the Columbine High school slaughter. The shooters had saturated their minds with violent video games, Gothic death music, and violent reading material. The result was on April 20, 1999, twelve students and one teacher were murdered.
Pokémon influence the children who play it? I pray that it does not happen, but I wonder how long it will be before a grade school child, tries to do what is written on the Weepingbell - Razor Leaf Pokémon card. It says, "It spits out poison powder to immobilize the enemy, and then finishes the enemy with a spray of acid." Does this line up with what the Bible has to say about how to handle our enemies in Romans 12:14-22? I think not! It is clear that Pokémon leads the player's imagination down the wrong path. The Bible says that we are to abhor that which is evil, and cleave to that which is good (Romans 12:9). Poisoning, paralyzing, etc. your enemies is clearly evil and no one should occupy their minds with such thoughts, game or no game. Our every thought is to be screened to be sure Christ approves of it (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). If it does not line up, it is to be rejected.
what's the problem with Pokémon? Its subtle suggestions, images and values are manipulating the minds and feelings of the children who are into it. Pokémon conditions them to accept humanistic wisdom and occult spirituality. Heavy involvement in Pokémon blurs the player's ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality and sears the conscience of the player as well. Pokémon is designed to be a stepping stone to harder occult oriented games like Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons.
God wants his children to have a completely different focus. We are even told where our thoughts should be directed in 
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Pokémon does not measure up! I suggest the best place for Pokémon paraphernalia is in the trash can!
Printed Pamphlet Available from
Logos Communication 
P.O. BOX 173, 
Oak Creek, WI 53154
Ph. (414) 768-9754


Poke Church-compressed

Jigglypuff and Jesus? Churches Nationwide Captured by ‘Pokemon Go’ Game Craze

How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children 
(and a Warning About Pokemon Go)
SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

LTRP Note: With the recent Pokemon Go craze, we thought this article from 1999 by Berit Kjos about Pokemon was very timely and needed. For those who aren’t sure if Pokemon Go is OK or not, do a search on the Internet to read some of the scary stories happening to people. We linked to one of them below Berit’s article.
By Berit Kjos
Who are the strange little creatures from Japan that have suddenly become global super-stars? Most kids know the answer well: They are called Pokemon (short for POCKEt MONster and pronounced Poh-keh-mon), and they have stirred up some mixed reactions.
“We just sent a letter home today saying Pokemon cards are no longer allowed on campus,” said Paula Williams, a second-grade teacher in Danville, California. “The kids know they’re supposed to be put away when they come in from recess, but they’re often in the middle of a trade, so they don’t come in on time. In the more extreme cases, the older kids are getting little kids to trade away valuable cards . . . . It drives a teacher crazy.”1
It concerns parents even more. “Recently, my children were given a set of Pokemon cards,” said DiAnna Brannan, a Seattle mom. “They are very popular with the children at our church and elsewhere. I was instantly suspicious but couldn’t discern the problem. We have since been told that they are stepping stones to the ‘Magic cards’ that have been popular for the last few years, which we do not allow.”
She is right. For instance, children exploring some of the most popular Pokemon websites 2 will find links to a selection of occult games. At the site for the Wizards of the Coast (makers of the Pokemon and Magic cards), a click on an ad for “Magic the Gathering” brings Pokemon fans to promotions such as this:
“A global games phenomenon, Magic: The Gathering is to the 1990s what Dungeons and Dragons was to the 1980s, but with the added dimension of collectibility. Here is the official reference to the biggest new teen/young adult fantasy game of the decade, complete with full-color reproductions of every existing Magic card.”
THE POKEMON MESSAGE. The above websites gives us glimpse of the mysterious little creatures called Pokemon. Ponder the suggestions in this greeting:
“Welcome to the world of Pokemon, a special place where people just like you train to become the number-one Pokemon Master in the World!”
“But what is a Pokemon, you ask. ‘Pokemon are incredible creatures that share the world with humans,’ says Professor Oak, the leading authority on these monster. ‘There are currently 150 documented species of Pokemon. . . . Each Pokemon has its own special fighting abilities. . . . Some grow, or evolve, into even more powerful creatures.. . . Carry your pokemon with you, and you’re ready for anything! You’ve got the power in your hands, so use it!'” 3
What if children try to follow this advice? What if they carry their favorite monsters like magical charms or fetishes in their pockets, trusting them to bring power in times of need?
Many do. It makes sense to those who watch the television show. In a recent episode, Ash, the boy hero, had just captured his fifth little Pokemon. But that wasn’t good enough, said his mentor. He must catch lots more if he wants to be a Pokemon master. And the more he catches and trains, the more power he will have for future battles.
So Ash sets out again in search for more of the reclusive, power-filled, little Pokemon. His first step is to find the “psychic Pokemon” called Kadabra and snatch it from its telepathic, pink-eyed trainer, Sabrina.
Or so it would seem to a first-time viewer not familiar with the contradictory themes. Actually, Ash doesn’t try to “catch” Kadabra, an evolved version of the Pokemon Abra. In spite of the prodding to increase his inventory of Pokemon warriors — and in spite of the constant reminders to “catch them all” — Ash was merely trying to win a standard battle. With the ghost Haunter on his side, it should have been a cinch!
But Ash underestimates the power of his opponent. When he and Sabrina meet for the fight, both hurl their chosen Pokemon into the air, but only Abra (who becomes Kadabra) evolves into a super-monster with a magic flash. Haunter hides. “Looks like your ghost Pokemon got spooked,” taunts Sabrina.4 Click here to continue reading.
Related Articles:
Pokemon Go is Dangerous – Someone’s story


"When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, [...] when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near."

—Testimonies for the Church 5:451 (1885).


God’s Warning? “Heat” Shuts Down Apostate ‘Together 2016’ Event

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.01.51 PM
The heavily marketed, highly touted, and Scripture-denying “Together 2016” event was held on the National Mall in Washington, DC on Saturday, July 16. Thousands gathered on the mall and watched by live stream for the purported purpose to pray for Jesus to “reset” the country and their lives.
The stream of celebrity evangelical “leaders,” pastors and musicians across the stage was essentially a who’s who of heresy. For the discerning believer who may have tuned in, markedly absent from the frenzy was a sense of reverence for a Holy God to whom appeals were being made to “fix our problems.”  Oh yeah, the real Gospel was conspicuously absent too.
Of course, the discerning believer will have recognized the real Jesus from the multitude of fictional ones being called upon from the stage’s center circle. The real Jesus would have not twisted Scripture to claim for America promises intended His chosen nation Israel. The real Jesus would not have bellowed out a repentance-free message of love, hope, and personal fulfillment. The real Jesus would not have jerked verses out of Scripture, encouraging listeners to name them and claim them for His, and their own, glory.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. Romans 16:17-18
Below, then, is a list of those eager celebrity participants in the Together 2016 event who are effectively standing before the world, as well as before the true church, and proclaiming their willingness to disregard Scripture, such as Paul’s command in Romans. These evangelical “leaders” have become, by their own participation in a false festival promoting man-made unity, the very ones about whom Paul has commanded, “Avoid them.”
Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 8.24.46 AM
Others not listed on the website’s official line-up participated as well, but none perhaps as noteworthy as the grand apostate of the Tiber, Pope Francis. Francis delivered a gospel-void invitation to unite together as a means of combatting what he called youthful “restlessness.”
“God does not leave anyone disillusioned. Jesus is waiting for you. He is the One who planted the seeds of restlessness in your heart.” Pope Francis
Sounding like a late night TV infomercial huckster, Francis offered these words of comfort for those who might be considering trying Jesus.
“Give it a try! You have nothing to lose! Try it. Then you can tell me.” Pope Francis
Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.47.15 PM
Promotion of Pelagian empowerment wasn’t merely limited to Francis the apostate. Others gave similar appeals for listeners to prompt God to save, to reset, and to act based on their decisions.
Dick Eastman, who heads a ministry called Every Home For Christ, offered the crowd truly heretical misrepresentation of regeneration. Citing “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, “ Eastman said, “that’s about 2/3rds of a tweet, and you’re saved!” Jesus apparently now saves, sans that whole “repent and believe” thing, by merely indicating your choice on Twitter.
Eastman went on to name and claim the nation, including every zip code, every street, and every house, for Jesus according to the Message Bible promises of Deuteronomy 26that were once incorrectly assigned to Israel.
The event was replete with appeals to a false Jesus, offered by the biggest names in evangelical Christendom, and thoroughly void of a presentation of the authentic Gospel of Jesus. It was a festival of apostasy. Thankfully, we have the names of those willing to forego obedience to Scripture. They should, indeed, be marked as “together” … united in the ecumenical apostasy they promote.
The event was scheduled to run from 9 am to 9 pm. God, however, had other plans. He apparently had enough of those prancing across the dais of deception and brought an early end to the apostasy.
By about 4 pm EST, authorities brought the rally to an early end due to the frequency of heat-related illnesses incurred by those in attendance. Over 400 people had to be treated, overwhelming the available EMT and medical services.
“Heat-related illnesses” … hmm. Sort of a divine warning of things to come, methinks, for those who don’t “Repent and Believe.”
And, if you already do repent and believe, you should mark these “leaders” as those eager to gather “together” for the cause of apostasy. “Avoid them.”



Tim Tebow Speaks at Together Reset 2016 on the National Mall, Washington DC July 16, 2016
But Where's the True Gospel?



Religious Bodies & Pope Unite Against
Bible Believing Christianity 

‘Pope’-Endorsed Ecumenical ‘Together 2016’ Unites Christians, Catholics in Nation’s Capital

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
WASHINGTON — Thousands of youth flocked to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Saturday for the ecumenical gathering “Together 2016,” which sought to unite those of various backgrounds to “stand together for Jesus” and featured a video endorsement from the leader of Roman Catholicism.
The event featured speakers such as Francis Chan, Ravi Zacharias, Lou Engle, Christine Caine and Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, as well as music from Michael W. Smith, Hillsong United, Lecrae, Jeremy Camp, Lauren Daigle, Casting Crowns and Kirk Franklin, among others.
“Everything now is protests: ‘I’m against this’ or ‘I hate that.’ We really believe there is a longing to come together. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we can come together around the hope of Jesus,” organizer Nick Hall of PULSE told the Washington Post. “There are moments when God’s people come together, and God does something that can heal, change, define generations.”
Worship leader Matt Maher, who identifies as Roman Catholic, also told the outlet, “If we’re singing the same songs together, then we can’t yell at each other.” He has outlined at other ecumenical events that he believes it is his calling to work toward to the unification of Christians and Catholics.
“We’ve never seen a unified church before in the history of the church since the Reformation. We don’t even know what it looks like,” he said at OneThing 2015. “I think what the work of unity starts with [is]: It starts with us praying together. It starts with us fellowshiping together. It starts with us having a common respect for each other, a love for each other.”
A number of those on stage mentioned unity as they addressed the crowd, including Lecrae, who declared in prayer, “When Your word tells us how to pray, it doesn’t say, ‘Go and speak to your Father, go and speak to my Father.’ It says ‘Our Father.’ It’s collective. We are family. Let us pray as family, God. Coming together saying, ‘We care about one another.'”
Lou Engle spoke of racial divides, referencing the cities of Minneapolis, Ferguson and Dallas. Francis Chan asked those gathered if after praying and worshiping together, attendees would be willing to be rejected for Christ together.
Liz Shedden, who serves as the director of Chan’s office, told Christian News Network that Chan “prays through the request” before agreeing to speak at an event, but that “he doesn’t look into many details surrounding the event, so he knows very little of the event itself.”
Casting Crowns front man Mark Hall told reporters that he thought the gathering was timely considering recent headlines.
“[Our nation] is in a bit of a storm and a lot of people are hurting. It felt like everyone just came together and prayed it together,” he said.
But some had expressed concern prior to the event as organizer Nick Hall (no relation to Mark Hall) had announced that Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis, would be delivering a video message to those in attendance.
“We are humbled and honored by his involvement and are eager to share his message with the crowd that gathers at Together 2016,” he told the Christian Post last month. “That His Holiness would choose to speak into this historic day is a testament to the urgency and the need for followers of Jesus to unite in prayer for our nation and our world.”
Hall also traveled to Rome to meet with the Roman Catholic leader and other Vatican officials ahead of the event.
“We’ve been praying for this and God has been answering our prayers,” he said in an online video in speaking of Bergoglio’s support of the gathering, explaining that he and a representative from the Vatican discussed how to unite Christians and Catholics.
An endorsement from Bergoglio, which had been posted online, was also played on the jumbotron for Together 2016 attendees.
“I know there is something in your heart that moves you, and that makes you restless, because a young person who is not restless is an old person. And you have youthfulness and youthfulness breeds restlessness,” the Roman Catholic pontiff stated.
“What is your restlessness?” he asked. “Do you know what it is or do you not know? Do you want to know what your restlessness is? I invite you to a great gathering of youth in Washington, D.C. to find the One who can give you an answer to your restlessness.”
Hall had posted the endorsement on social media on June 21, which sparked much controversy.
“Well, guess I’m not going,” one commenter named Alberto wrote. “Sorry, but this is a bad choice.”
“Christians and false prophets will join hands and become one in this event. The great falling away is happening before our very eyes. We will not be silent!” another named Kenny commented.
Hall, aware of the concerns, told the crowd on Saturday, “We’re not saying it’s time to compromise Scripture. But there is something about reaching across the aisle.”
The event ended five hours earlier than expected due to the heat index, which resulted in a number of attendees suffering heat-related ailments.