As “The Kremlin Conspiracy” releases today, new headline out of Washington seems ripped from the novel: “Baltic leaders warn U.S. not to underestimate Russia threat.” Here’s the latest.

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(Virginia Beach, Virginia) — I’m excited to announce that my new political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, releases today in hardcover in North America. It also releases worldwide today in e-book and audio formats. 

In the novel, the fictional President of the Russian Federation is plotting a lightning-fast military attack to reconquer the three Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — once enslaved by Moscow during the Soviet era. Given that all three countries have been NATO members since 2004, the move risks triggering not only a war, but a nuclear war, with the U.S. and NATO alliance. But the Kremlin is gambling that Western leaders will flinch and be unwilling to really go to war to save our heroic and faithful Baltic allies. 

In the novel, Marcus Ryker — a former U.S. Marine and now retired U.S. Secret Service agent — is visiting Moscow as all Hell prepares to break loose. Working closely with a mole positioned at the highest levels of the Russian government, he finds himself at the vortex of the conspiracy, with one chance, and a slim one at that, to protect his country from imminent war.

In the days ahead, I’ll be doing a range of interviews about the plot, the characters, and why I wrote the book. But I couldn’t help notice a major headline in today’s papers that feels ripped from the novel itself: “BALTIC NATIONS WARN U.S. NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE RUSSIA THREAT.”

As it happens, the foreign ministers of all three Baltic nations are in Washington, laying the groundwork for an April 3rd summit between President Trump and the presidents of the Baltic States to discuss the Russian threat and urge the U.S. to pre-position more troops and equipment in the region to create a credible deterrence to Putin.

Interesting timing, to say the least.

I’m in Virginia Beach to launch the novel on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Later today, I head to Washington for more interviews and meetings on Capitol Hill to discuss the Russia threat. For the latest, please follow my updates on Twitter.

I do hope you’ll pick up and read a copy of my novel. I also encourage you to read excerpts from this important article published by Agence France Presse:

  • Sven Mikser of Estonia, Edgars Rinkevics of Latvia and Linas Linkevicius of Lithuania were careful to thank President Donald Trump’s administration for its support for NATO. But, in an interview with AFP after their joint meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the foreign ministers shared their concerns about Russia’s “hybrid” threat to the West.
  • “I think what we have seen in the past four or three years is the community of democratic nations is under the attack,” Rinkevics said of Russian interference and interventions. The very basis of our democratic institutions are under attack through social media by fake news, and also through the influence of money, and it is very important that we stick together.”
  • The Baltic republics will be able to reinforce this message once more on April 3, when their presidents come to Washington for a White House summit with Trump they hope will send a message to Moscow.
  • Rinkevics dubbed the threat “unprecedented since the 1930s and 40s” — the period during which the young Baltic republics fell under the control first of Nazi Germany then the Soviet Union.
  • Since the fall of the Soviets, the three have thrown their lot in with the West, turning away from Moscow’s orbit by joining NATO’s mutual defense pact and the European Union.
  • Russia’s current president, Vladimir Putin, has never made any secret that he resents this and regards former Soviet republics as belonging in Moscow’s zone of influence. As recently as last week, when asked which single historical event he would most like to reverse, Putin replied: “The collapse of the Soviet Union.”
  • To many, such a statement might seem like electoral bravado designed to play on Russian nationalism three weeks before an election that is expected to confirm Putin in office until 2024. But the Baltic states cannot afford to be complacent….
  • The visiting trio urged Washington to look the threat to their own and to European institutions in the face. “We’re always suggesting to our colleagues in the United States and Europe to be more realistic, not to be naive. Dialogue is important as long as it doesn’t serve as a smokescreen to do nothing,” Linkevicius said.
  • The Lithuanian envoy noted Putin’s recent belligerent speech in which he boasted that Russia had developed a new generation of nuclear arms to bypass missile defenses.
  • “That type of dialogue is not acceptable. And that’s military power, it’s not dialogue, it’s something else,” Linkevicius argued.
  • All three ministers agreed that they would like to see US troops based more permanently in the Baltics, alongside their British, Canadian and German allies.
  • “We really should act, and do this visibly with tangible means,” the Lithuanian said.
  • “NATO will never escalate. NATO will never be aggressive, but nobody should be in any doubt that we will do whatever necessary to protect our territories.”

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

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

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

The following are selected excerpts from the speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The big question is: What’s next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few advance excerpts from my speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 EXCERPTS FROM CNBC COVERAGE: “I AM NOT BLUFFING”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even that number struck many experts as high. Jews For Jesus says on its website that “estimates [of Jewish believers] range from as low as 30,000 to as high as 125,000 worldwide.” Chosen People Ministries says the number is “maybe 200,000.”

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

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

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

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

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

The Caliphate has been crushed, but ISIS is by no means dead. Here’s the latest.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — Tonight, I fly back to the U.S. to prepared to launch my new political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy. But before I pivot to Russia, I wanted to update you on the fight against the Islamic State. 

After all, my last three novels — The Third Target, The First Hostage and Without Warning — all dealt with the threat of ISIS capturing chemical weapons in Syria and plotting genocidal attacks against the U.S., Israel, Jordan, the Palestinians and Egypt.

What’s more, a year ago I asked McLaughlin & Associates, a respected U.S. polling first whose clients included the Trump campaign, to conduct a survey to understand how Americans were viewing the war against ISIS. What we found was sobering:

  • Only one-in-three Americans believe “the U.S. and our allies are winning the war against the Islamic State and getting safer every day.”
  • A remarkable 41 percent believe “the U.S. and our allies are losing the war against the Islamic State and the threat to our safety is growing.”
  • Fully one-in-four say they had no idea if we’re winning or not.
  • We also found that almost seven-in-ten Americans (68%) said they “fear catastrophic terrorist attacks by ISIS are coming to the U.S. homeland, possibly involving chemical or biological weapons.”

How much has changed in just twelve months.

The new administration — working closely with its Arab and Kurdish allies — has:

The Caliphate in Iraq and Syria is, effectively, no more. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the war against ISIS is far from over.

  • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, has been reported killed several times, but seems to actually be still at large. He needs to be stopped and brought to justice.
  • Many ISIS foreign fighters have redeployed from the Middle East to their home countries, where they are believed to be plotting new and deadlier attacks. The U.S. and Europe need to be especially wary.
  • Countries like Libya and Yemen are in chaos, and ISIS can use such no-man’s lands to rebuild and train for new strikes.

“Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, told reporters at the State Department just before Christmas that the U.S. had made significant progress against the extremist network in 2017, but there is still work to do,” reported U.S. News & World Report.

“Nobody who works on these problems would tell you we’re popping champagne corks or anything,” said McGurk, who began his position during the Obama administration and has continued under Trump. “This is not over, there is a long way to go.”

Bottom line: the West — and Washington — dare not become complacent. Much progress has been made in the battle to crush the Caliphate. But ISIS is not dead. We must stay on the offense, lest these jihadists blindside us, without warning.

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Who was Billy Graham? Many don’t really know. Here’s the foreword I wrote to a marvelous biography of the evangelist. I commend it to your attention as we remember the most influential Evangelical of our age.

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Almost a decade ago, I was asked to write the foreword to an absolutely marvelous biography titled, Billy Graham: His Life and Influence. Written by David Aikman, a former foreign correspondent for Time magazine, it is the best book about the evangelist of the many that I’ve read. In this week leading up to the March 2nd memorial service in Montreat, North Carolina, if you’re looking to learn more about this extraordinary servant of God — for yourself or for young people, many of who don’t really know who he was — let me commend this work to you, in print or audio. 

FOREWORD

Jesus Christ once said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these will he do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12)

Jesus also said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)

When I think of Billy Graham, I think of these two verses. For no single human being in the history of the world ever personally preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people face to face than Billy Graham – some 215 million in 185 countries.

No single Protestant Christian leader in human history ever personally befriended, counseled and shared the love of Christ and the truths of the Bible with more presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens than did Graham.

Few evangelists have employed radio, television, satellite technology, motion pictures, magazines, books, and the Internet more effectively than Graham to reach hundreds of millions of more souls with the life changing message of the cross, and to train tens of thousands of international evangelists to carry the message to the ends of the earth.

In the power of the Holy Spirit, Graham may have actually reached more people with the gospel than were on the planet when Jesus walked the earth, and did more than any other single human in the 20th century to fulfill the prophecy of Matthew 24:14 and set the stage for the Second Coming.

Why did the Lord choose an ordinary farm boy from North Carolina to accomplish such an historic mission? How did the Lord train and prepare this young man to reach the nations with the message of salvation? What were the geopolitical, social, religious and cultural contexts in which Billy Graham operated? What mistakes did Graham make, what mistakes was he wisely able to avoid, and what lessons can the next generation of Christ-followers and Christ-proclaimers draw from his life and ministry?

These are the questions that have fascinated me ever since I had the opportunity to see Billy Graham in person for the first time in September 1988 in my hometown of Rochester, New York, when he was leading a Crusade at Silver Stadium and my parents were on the platform committee.

My admiration for and curiosity about Graham only intensified the following year, in April 1989, when I had the opportunity to meet and interact with him. I was a senior at Syracuse University. Graham was bringing his Crusade to the Carrier Dome on our campus. But a few months before he arrived, Radical Islamic terrorists from Libya blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing thirty-five fellow S.U. students. Knowing the local General Secretary of the Syracuse Crusade, I asked him if he would invite Graham to speak at a special student forum we would entitle, “Peace In A Troubled World.”

Graham’s staff informed us that due to his age and health, he had largely stopped doing such forums. But given the unique situation, the evangelist graciously agreed. We organized a private reception for him at the Chancellor’s home to meet the student leaders on campus and answer their questions. Then Graham spoke to the larger student body we helped organize and answered their many spiritual and personal questions. I watched the Lord use Billy Graham powerfully that night, touching the lives of young people devastated by an act of Middle Eastern terrorism with the message of a Savior from the Middle East, and I was forever moved.

The interaction of those days whetted my appetite to understand this man, his message, and his methods more deeply. In the last two decades, I have read many Billy Graham biographies, but this one is by far my favorite.

David Aikman’s masterful and incredibly insightful work, Billy Graham: His Life and Influence, is a must read for everyone trying to understand how God can raise up a teenager no one has ever heard of and transform him into the greatest evangelist in the history of the world. David poignantly captures the drama of Graham’s meteoric rise, his proximity to power, the challenges he faced, but most of all his enduring passion to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone who would listen.

I first came across the book on audio tape and listened to it numerous times, intrigued by the insider details that David reports and the geopolitical and social context that he provides. As David vividly portrays, for half a century Billy Graham made such a gigantic mark on the religious life of both the U.S. and the world that in important ways he transformed the age in which he lived.

He turned evangelical Protestantism into the normative form of the Christian faith as practiced by Protestants.  He reached out in an extraordinary way to Roman Catholics, and in many ways was embraced by them as a “brother.” 

Christians of more liberal theological persuasion might gripe under their breath about “those Fundamentalists,” but they have never been able to challenge the dominance of evangelicals. Globally, Billy Graham accomplished something similar. 

He injected a self-confidence into multiple national Christian movements that helped propel them, in some cases, into positions of national power. Finally, internationally, Graham was at least a partial catalyst for some of the most important events of our era:  the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the peaceful transition from apartheid to black African majority-rule in South Africa.

As you are about to see, David Aikman describes in gripping detail Graham’s painful parting of the ways with America’s leading Fundamentalists in the 1950’s, his complex, and sometimes tormented coping with the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and his intriguing, but not always smooth, relationships with eleven of America’s presidents.  In recounting the different stages – and sometimes lurches – of Graham’s life, I found that David fascinatingly, but always succinctly, sketched in just enough of the historical and political background to bring the entire story vividly to life.

The same is true of those parts of the book that deal with Billy Graham’s travels overseas. David Aikman was for 23 years a correspondent for TIME Magazine, and for much of that time was a foreign correspondent and assigned to TIME bureaus all over the world.  He became very familiar with the international settings of many of Graham’s most important foreign journeys and knew personally some of the personalities with whom Graham met.  His insights into the collapse of Communism, the rise of Christianity in China, and the peculiar nature of North Korean Communism are worth reading for their own sake. 

Billy Graham, of course, was first and foremost an American original. But in many ways he also belonged to the entire world, a world which to this day has been profoundly affected by his life. His deeply-held conviction that Jesus Christ is coming back soon – and his determination to give every man, woman and child on the planet an opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it before that Day – is one of the most important stories of the past century.  May the Lord use this wonderful book to inspire and encourage you to receive Christ into your own heart, and then make His beautiful and powerful Name known to the nations while there is still time.

Joel Rosenberg, Washington, D.C., February 2010 

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UPDATED: Billy Graham has gone home to be with the Lord. He preached the Gospel to 200 million+ face-to-face, more than any man in history. How his life and message impacted me forever.

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UPDATED: (Jerusalem, Israel) — It feels like an apostle has left the earth.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Rev. Billy Graham — a humble giant of the Evangelical Christian faith — has been called home to be with the Lord. He was 99.

Please keep his family and staff in prayer as they process his loss, and simultaneously set into motion long-prepared plans for his memorial service, which will be held on Friday, March 2.

Let’s also thank our Father in heaven for using this farmer’s son from rural North Carolina to boldly proclaim the Gospel to more people than any other person in human history. He preached in stadiums and arenas to more than 200 million people, as well as to hundreds of millions of more souls via radio, TV, film, books, media interviews, a newspaper column, the Internet, and other forms of media.

Rev. Graham had a profound impact on my own life and faith, as I know he had on many of you.

  • URBANA STUDENT CONFERENCE: In December 1984, I first heard Graham preach live and in person. I was one of 17,000 students attending Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s “Urbana Missions Conference” in Urbana, Illinois. I was only a senior in high school, but the little church I attended gave me a scholarship to join a group of college students who had rented a bus to drive all night to get there. The entire conference was wonderful, but Graham’s message was the most powerful, moving and funny sermon I had ever heard. To this day, I can still remember his core theme — “What will you be like as a Christian ten years from tonight?” — and his jokes. Years later, I found the audio of the message on the BGEA archives and have loved listening to it several times over, as well as confirming how much of that message I really did remember because it was etched into my soul.
  • BUFFALO: In the summer of 1987, my family and I drove to Buffalo, New York, to experience a Billy Graham Crusade for the first time. Wow. I’d seen them on TV. But it was something to see in person, a simple man speaking simple words but holding an audience of 50,000 or so in rapt attention as he explained the Gospel message and asked them to make a decision to follow Jesus as Messiah and Lord forever.
  • ROCHESTER: In September 1987, my parents served on the platform committee of the Billy Graham Crusade in Rochester, New York, the closest major city to the little village of Fairport where I was raised. Three friends of mine — including my future wife, Lynn Meyers — drove from Syracuse University where we were students to Rochester to attend that Crusade on a chilly Fall Wednesday night. It was a profoundly moving experience for me.
  • SYRACUSE: I first had the honor of meeting him in April of 1989 when I was a senior at Syracuse University. My pastor, Dr. T.E. Koshy — who was also the Evangelical chaplain at S.U. — was asked to be the General Secretary of the Billy Graham Crusade in Syracuse that spring. It was to be held on our campus, in the Carrier Dome football stadium. Dr. Koshy asked me and several other students to assist him in various aspects of preparing the evangelistic campaign. This included co-writing a memo on the Christian history of the university and the major issues students were talking about in those days and personally briefing the evangelist on the memo and answering his questions. I had the opportunity to help organize a private reception for Rev. Graham and student leaders at the Chancellor’s home, and help organize a special Q&A forum Graham conducted for S.U. students after the tragic terrorist attack that downed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The flight had 35 Syracuse students on board. It was blown up in December 1987, just a few months before Graham was scheduled to arrive on campus. It shook the student body terribly, and Graham graciously agreed to an evening event just for students that we called, “Peace In A Troubled World.” He was so gentle, and gracious, so compassionate and willing to listen to the students’ pain. He was also so clear and direct that the only hope for peace in this world or the world to come was through faith in Jesus the living Messiah and God of the universe.
  • BOOKS: I have devoured Graham’s autobiography, Just As I Am, in print and multiple times on audio and highly recommend it, as well as many of his other books, from Peace With God to Angels. Indeed, I have also read and loved many books written about Graham — my favorite by far being Billy Graham: His Life and Influence by former Time magazine correspondent David Aikman (for which I wrote the foreword to the paperback edition). Another excellent one is The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham In The White House by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.
  • MONTREAT, NORTH CAROLINA: Just a few years ago, Anne Graham Lotz invited me to come to North Carolina to teach the Scriptures at The Cove retreat center, and to come up to her childhood home to meet with and pray for this aging servant of the Lord. It was a special and moving time. He was a lion in winter — a man who had once raced the planet, powerfully preaching the Gospel to millions in 185 nations, befriending and counseling kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers in the Word of the Lord; now sitting quietly in a rocking chair, a blanket over him, on oxygen, his hands frail, his hair white. He was warm and kind, hospitable and quiet. No longer was he running or preaching. Now he was reclining and praying. I had the opportunity to thank him for the impact he had had on me, from Urbana to the present. I reminded him of the forum he did at Syracuse University after the Pan Am disaster and how transformative that was for all of us. Anne and one of her daughters read the Bible to him. While his voice was raspy, he literally groaned with affirmation for every word of the Lord they spoke as his spirit resounded to the words of his Savior. I remember thinking later that night after we’d come down from the mountain that it was like meeting the Apostle Paul. I confess that I wept with thanksgiving that I, the grandson of Orthodox Jews who escaped persecution in Russia, could have a precious hour with a man no better than any of us, but a man chosen and used so powerfully by the King of glory.

My prayer now is that even in his passing, his memorial service will be used by the Lord to proclaim the good news of God’s amazing grace and love to hundreds of millions — maybe billions — more people in the U.S. and around the world. What’s more, I pray that millions whose lives and souls have been touched by “America’s Pastor” will share those stories with family and friends and strangers, so they too can know the good news.

So many still need to hear the simple truth of the Jewish Messiah who came to teach and love and suffer and die on the cross, then rise again on the third day in fulfillment of the Hebrew prophets. So many still need to know that the Messiah has come to give forgiveness and eternal and abundant life to anyone who will repent and call on the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved. And that He is coming again, maybe soon. 

May Billy Graham’s simple message be remembered, and may his humble example be followed. 

(photo: Rev. Graham with my pastor, Dr. T.E. Koshy, and myself at a reception for student leaders at Syracuse University in April 1989)


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Announcing 10-city U.S. book tour for “The Kremlin Conspiracy.” First event will be a keynote address at the NRB Convention in Nashville next week.

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Two weeks from today, The Kremlin Conspiracy will release in hardcover, e-book and audio formats. Today, I’m excited to announce a 10-city speaking and media tour.

You can learn all the details of each public event on the tour by clicking here. Please make plans to attend one of the events. I’d love the opportunity to meet you, sign your book and answer your questions.

I’m deeply honored to have been invited to deliver a keynote address to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville next week. In addition, I’ve been asked to speak at several other events during the convention. The NRB speech will mark the book tour’s kick-off, though most of the book interviews I do will actually begin the week of March 6th. Please follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on media interviews, but we’ll also be posting some of the interviews on my website, on our “Epicenter Team” Facebook page, and on my Twitter account, if you miss them.

If you haven’t pre-ordered The Kremlin Conspiracy, please do so today!

Here are excerpts from the NRB press release:

Best-selling author and Middle East expert Joel C. Rosenberg is scheduled to speak during the Super Session on March 1, 2018, at Proclaim 18, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rosenberg has appeared on top national and religious radio and TV shows; met with religious and government leaders all across North America and around the world; and spoken to many audiences, including audiences at the White House, Pentagon, Congress, Canadian Parliament, and the European Union Parliament.

“Joel Rosenberg has unique insights about critical issues today, and we are thrilled to have him join us for Proclaim 18, NRB’s 75th annual Convention,” said NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson. “Convention attendees will be blessed to hear what God has placed on Joel’s heart, and he is sure to challenge and inspire during the Super Session….

Proclaim 18 will take place February 27-March 2, 2018, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, while NRB’s award-winning Exposition – featuring around 200 exhibitors – will be open February 28-March 2.

Other NRB speakers include Vice President Mike Pence, Pastor Rick Warren, Pastor Greg Laurie, and actors Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel. Music will be provided by Mercy Me and Michael W. Smith, among others.

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Former CIA Director and New York Times best-selling writers praise THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY, forthcoming political thriller about a Russian Czar plotting to attack the US & NATO alliance. (Novel set for March 6 release.)

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As the countdown to the March 6th launch approaches, some early endorsements of The Kremlin Conspiracy are in, and they’re encouraging.

“Joel Rosenberg has an uncanny talent for focusing his story-telling on real world hot spots just as they are heating up. He has done it again in The Kremlin Conspiracy. Russia is back in the headlines above the fold as a macro-mischief maker and Joel’s new thriller presents a worst case scenario that must never come to pass. All Americans – especially the President, Members of Congress and our national security team – should be mindful of the threat an out-of-control Moscow poses to peace and freedom.” – Porter Goss, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency

“Marcus Ryker rocks! Breakneck action, political brinksmanship, authentic scenarios, and sharply defined characters make Joel C. Rosenberg’s Kremlin Conspiracy a full throttle and frightening ride through tomorrow’s headlines.” – U.S. Army Brigadier General (retired) A. J. Tata, national bestselling author of Direct Fire

“Joel C. Rosenberg writes taut, intelligent thrillers that are as timely as they are well-written. Pairing a fast-paced plot with an impressive understanding of the inner workings in the corridors of power of the Russian government, The Kremlin Conspiracy is a stellar novel of riveting action and political intrigue.” – Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Agent in Place

The Kremlin Conspiracy is my first Joel C. Rosenberg novel, and I am absolutely blown away by how good this guy is. The story moves at a blistering pace, it’s crackling with tension, and you won’t put it down until you reach the end. Guaranteed. Simply masterful.” – Sean Parnell, New York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon

What is THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY all about?

SEPTEMBER 1999: A series of apartment bombings in Moscow shock the world. The Russian government immediately blames Chechen terrorists, and Oleg Kraskin―a sharp young lawyer in love with the president’s daughter―has no reason to doubt it. Yet when he joins the First Family of Russia, and the president’s personal staff, he has no idea how radically the bombings will one day alter the course of world events. Or what role he himself will play.

SEPTEMBER 2001­: Just after the Twin Towers and the Pentagon are attacked, Marcus Ryker enlists in the Marines and is sent to Afghanistan to defend his country. In time, he joins the United States Secret Service and works his way up to the elite Presidential Protection Detail. It’s his dream job, until a tragic accident causes him to rethink his priorities.

Neither Marcus nor Oleg is aware of just how much they themselves will change history when their paths cross.

Russia’s president is a rising czar determined to restore his country to her former greatness―and he will stop at nothing to do so. Even risk nuclear war.

Now Marcus has to make the most important decision of his life. Would it ever be right to assassinate a single leader if it could prevent a genocide? If it is, then everything he’s learned to protect our president, he’ll need to take out theirs.

Please pre-order your copy today in hardcover, e-book or audio formats today from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Lifeway, or your favorite bookstore retailer!

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Three weeks to launch: The Washington Examiner mentions “The Kremlin Conspiracy” today. Tyndale posts new video book trailer. Book tour schedule coming this week. (Pre-order now.)

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With the clock ticking down until publication day, The Washington Examiner mentions The Kremlin Conspiracy in today’s “Washington Secrets” column.

“An author popular with Washingtonians, Joel C. Rosenberg, is coming out with a new thriller tied to current politics,” writes columnist Paul Bedard. “The Kremlin Conspiracy, out March 6, features an American president so focused on Iran and North Korea that he is blindsided by a Russian czar plotting an attack on the Baltic states. Rosenberg said his fans include Vice President Mike Pence, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, former CIA Director Porter Goss, Sen. Marco Rubio, human rights activist Natan Sharansky, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.”

Far and away, I’m most grateful for all of my readers who live outside the Washington Beltway, across the U.S. and Canada and around the world. But it’s certainly been fun (and surprising) over the years to discover who’s reading my novels in the mysterious corridors of power, from Capitol Hill to the CIA.

In other news, my publisher — Tyndale House — just released a new book trailer on video — click here to watch.

Later this week, we’ll release the book tour schedule. Stand by for that and I hope you’ll make plans to come see me and get your book signed.

For now, don’t forget to pre-order your copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy in hardcover, e-book, or audio from your favorite book retailer — and please let your family and friends know about the new book, as well. Thanks!

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