In an exclusive interview with Christian News Journal, Dr. Michael Youssef, the Atlanta-based founder of The Church of The Apostles, said that during the trying times our country is going through today, all faithful people everywhere must remember that “God knows what He’s doing”—and that it’s vital “to stand up for the Christian faith no matter what” obstacles or criticisms we may face because of our beliefs in Jesus Christ.
“I always tell people that God knows what he’s doing,” said Youssef, who is also a prolific author. “He allowed me to live the first 18 years of my life in the Middle East, where I grew up with [religious] persecution. And literally, as I grew up drinking milk and later solid food, I was fed on the Word of God, and the importance of standing up for the Christian faith.”
He encountered persecution “almost everywhere” he went as a young man, he added—“but nonetheless, our family was a Bible-believing, evangelical, prominent family … and they trained us and drummed into our ears to stand up and be counted for Christ, and the importance of doing that,” he said.
“So here we are—fast forward 50-plus years later—and we are facing things that I never thought or dreamed that one day I would face, in the greatest nation, in the freest nation on the face of the earth, where I longed to be as a young man, [and where I longed] to breathe the air of freedom and escape the socialism of Mr. Nasser in Egypt,” he said.
“So I believe God has already equipped me for [this challenge],” Dr. Youssef also noted. “And I’m running straight into it. I don’t stop and think about it. Instead, I [say to God], ‘OK, bring it on.”
CNJ editor Corine Gatti-Santillo asked Dr. Youssef for his advice for others in standing strong today in their faith.
“I tell pastors all the time—and I don’t turn down invitations to speak to pastors—that it’s absolutely, vitally important for them to grasp the idea that we, according to James, the brother of Jesus, are going to be judged far more strictly and severely than the average Christian.”
And “every one of us is going to have this moment of what I call an ‘Audience of One,’” said Dr. Youssef. So “what would you want the Lord to say to you? ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’”—or something far less complimentary than that?
That is a compelling question for all Christian leaders to ponder.
Regarding the controversial legislation known as the Equality Act, Dr. Youssef said forthrightly, “It is designed to discriminate against Christians. It basically [goes against] such Christian small businesses as our cake maker in Colorado, or florists, or churches, or Christian ministries … This bill is about pushing this LGBTQ [agenda] onto the church, and onto Christians. That is really the whole point of it … It is patently evil.”
He said it is “designed to make Christians, or those who have any belief in the Bible, suffer.”
“And they [liberals] thought for a while, because of the interview that Pope Francis gave—they thought that they ‘got’ him, and they ‘got’ the Catholic Church”—but ultimately, they were disappointed in that, as the pope, “on doctrine … held the line,” added Dr. Youssef, noting that he’s “very grateful” for that.
Dr. Youssef’s latest book—his 49th—is Hope for This Present Crisis.
He said this new book, just published in March, is “particularly so dear to my heart, because I have watched this beloved nation, and before that, the beloved church of Jesus Christ, literally defect to the enemy by denying the truth of God.”
He added, “Once absolute truth is denied, or watered down, or hidden, or not even talked about—then it’s a free for all. It’s ‘your truth,’ or ‘his truth,’ or ‘her truth,’ or ‘my truth,’ or ‘everybody’s truth,’” he said. “I liken it to a football field [that has] no boundaries, no rules of the game. Players can go anywhere. They can throw the ball in any direction—and there’s utter confusion. That’s what happens when the absolute truth of God is denied.”
We need to be clear, he said. We must stay close to, and honor, biblical truth.
“We must affirm that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, both the Old and New Testament, and that it’s inspired by the Holy Spirit,” he said.
And we cannot be swayed by today’s “woke culture,” he said—or allow others to separate us from God in any way that departs from our fervently cherished faith.
Dr. Youssef and his wife are devoted parents and grandparents. He is also the host of the popular TV and radio broadcast “Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef,” which airs more than 13,000 times every week across six continents in 26 languages—reaching audiences in nearly every major city around the globe.
His programs attract tens of millions of viewers weekly in the U.S. on major TV networks, including TBN, Daystar, Fox Business, Lifetime, GOD TV, CTN, NRB TV, and others.
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—By Corine Gatti-Santillo and Maureen Mackey