Last week, a Military Religious Freedom Foundation researcher discovered that Baptist evangelical preacher Dave Kistler was invited by the Pentagon to give a June, 6 2007 sermon in the Pentagon's executive dining suite, at a morning "prayer breakfast" and then, on the following June 7th, give a sermon in the the Pentagon auditorium. Those were the same privileges, of Pentagon access, extended by the Pentagon Chaplain's office to Jonathan Spinks' apocalyptic "Operation Straight Up" ministry recently, but Dave Kistler has in the past gotten even more troublesome license to evangelize in the Pentagon; two years ago, on Thursday June 9, 2005* Dave Kistler was allowed to give two sermons, in the courtyard of the Pentagon, while Pentagon employees were eating lunch...
Kistler's ministry volunteers dragged an entire PA system through Pentagon security so that Kistler's June 2005 Pentagon courtyard sermons would be sufficiently loud.
*a correction: in my original writeup on this event, I made a dyslexic reversal and flipped the dates of Dave Kistler's two Pentagon visits, incorrectly dating Kistler's Pentagon courtyard appearance in 2007 rather than, correctly, 2005. I've corrected that mistake and also added some new material to this updated version. My apologies for the error.
Who is James Kistler ? What does he preach ? Well, we don't yet know what he said in the Pentagon on June 9, 2005, over his PA system while Pentagon employees ate their lunch or what he preached more recently, on June 6th and 7th, 2007. But, here's how Dave Kistler described his latest, 2007 Pentagon "outreach", in his ministry newsletter:
We began our two-week ministry in DC with two days inside the Pentagon. It was my privilege to speak on June 6th at the Pentagon Prayer Breakfast (a second opportunity for me) and on June 7th in the Pentagon Auditorium. I am thrilled to report that three souls were saved among those who attended those events. The new Pentagon Chaplain, Col. William Broome and Deputy Chaplain Maj. Alan Pomaville were gracious
hosts. The time they spent with us, giving us a tour of the Pentagon and introducing us to notable individuals who work there, is something that I will never forget. A highlight of our visit to the Pentagon had to be meeting two-star General David Hicks, the Chief Chaplain of the Army. This incredible Christian gentleman has his testimony in print in the form of a gospel tract, published by Good News Publishers. He is bold and unashamed in his witness for Christ. I look forward to additional times of ministry in the Pentagon and to further cultivation of relationships with these fine men. [emphasis mine]
Kistler's 2005 Pentagon junket a much higher profile event, and it is only one of several overtly Christian events that have been held in recent years in the Pentagon courtyard. Another, 2006 event featured the "1st Annual Pentagon Gospel Jubilee", with overtly Christian folk and Gospel acts and a special (overtly Christian) award ceremony. The June 9, 2005 sermons by Dave Kistler very likely amounted to a massive Constitutional violation, with the appearance of Pentagon endorsement of Dave Kistler's apocalyptic interpretation of Christianity.
Here's how Kistler described the event:
As many of you know, we were in Washington, DC this past week conducting services at the Pentagon. From a ministry and personal perspective, it was a highlight of my life. I was privileged to speak on Wednesday, June 8 at the Pentagon Prayer Breakfast. At the conclusion of my message, three men accepted Christ as Savior. I was informed later that this is highly unusual and almost never occurs. I was impressed, as was our H.O.P.E. Ministries team, with the dedication of those who know Christ in that facility and with their desire to be used of God in these days. On Thursday, June 9, we conducted two services in the Pentagon courtyard.From the outset, we saw God's gracious hand at work. Rain had been in the forecast all week, however the day was absolutely beautiful with partly cloudy skies. Three of our team transported all the sound equipment to the Pentagon for security inspection and delivery to the courtyard. Their day began at 4:00 am. Getting through security and into the Pentagon with the number of items that we brought in can be difficult. However, our men had everything set up by 9:30, an hour and a half before we were to begin. Both services were very well received. Just how many were saved, I do not know. I was told, by one of the Chaplains corps., that numerous people had no doubt called of Christ for salvation at the end of the services, and that many more would be saved in the following days. Because we were in a very public part of the Pentagon where large numbers of employees eat their lunch, and the potential of being accused of "coercing" people toward Christianity, we were not allowed to give a typical invitation, or to ask for an outward response on the part of those who accepted Christ. While we could not do a normal type invitation, there were no restrictions on the gospel message I preached. The Pentagon Chaplain later informed our entire team that our event was "cutting edge evangelism" in the Pentagon. Never before had a preacher been allowed to present the message of the gospel in the courtyard. I am honored and humbled that the Lord allowed us to be used in this great way.
At the conclusion of one of the courtyard services, one of the Army Chaplains came up to me and expressed great appreciation for my message and our being there. As he shook my hand, he placed a special coin in my palm. I thanked him for the coin, but we did not realize until later the significance of that gesture. Another Pentagon employee informed me that being given a coin like that from a military person means that they consider you one who has profoundly and powerfully affected their life. That coin and the entire incident will be something I will treasure the rest of my life. Over and over we were told how much our ministry was appreciated. Later in the day, when we had returned to our hotel rooms, the Chaplains office called to tell us that the soldier, who assisted us in getting our equipment into the facility, had received Christ as Savior that afternoon. Evidently he had received one of our DVD's, watched it several times, and had realized his need of Christ. He stopped by the Chaplain's office and after being counseled, accepted Jesus as Savior. I trust that you will pray for God's continued blessing and saving power on the word that was preached.
In addition to the three services we conducted, we were able to take a detailed tour of the Pentagon facility. It was an extra special treat to stand outside Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office. I have a new appreciation for all that our military leadership does in the defense of freedom. I also have a greatly deepened sense of urgency to pray more diligently for our men and women in uniform.
As we left the Pentagon, the Chaplain's Assistant told us, "It’s not a matter of IF you'll be back here to conduct services, but WHEN." At present, we are working on the details of returning either next year or 2007.
When I arrived home from DC, I already had several messages from Pentagon
officials requesting additional information about our ministry and the gospel. I believe that what we saw during our two days at the Pentagon is just the beginning of great things that God is going to do. My heart of overflowing with praise to our Lord for what He is doing and for His allowing us to have a small part in His great work of evangelism.[emphasis mine]
So, what does evangelist Dave Kistler preach ? Here's an indication, from a transcript I've made of a 2004 guest sermon Kinstler gave, at a Hanover, PA church in which Kistler:
Said Evolution is "absolutely ridiculous"
Claimed abortion is legal "all the way, almost, right up until the delivery day"
Predicted the immanent coming of the AntiChrist
Said George W. Bush will be "Raptured" to Heaven but Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Ted Kennedy will NOT be saved.
Claimed that in 1998 he saw a man at a UK grocery store pay for groceries with a hand-implanted device that communicated with a UPC price code scanner and paid the gocery bill out of the man's "World Bank" bank account.
Claimed the US government will soon mandate that children be miocro-chipped so they can be tracked.
[ Below - excerpt from my partial transcript of a 2004 Kistler sermon ]
...Any of you ever been in England or Europe ? Pastor, six years ago I was in Europe [ note: this sermon was given 5/20/2004 ]. The missionary said "Dave, I'm going to the grocery store, do you need anything from the grocery store" I said to my wife "honey, do we need anything ?" She said "get some milk, some bread, a little bit of cheese, and also pick up some Advil because I've got a terrible headache." I said "Alright, I'll go." I said "let's go brother Larry', and so the missionary and I drove to a British grocery store and we got our items, got in line and, pastor, in front of us - I would not have believed it had I not seen it - in front of us is a guy who has all his groceries up on the conveyor He gets it all rung up, and the gal says it'll be this number of dollars and this number of cents. I thought the guy'll pull his wallet out and he'll pay in cash, or he'll pull out a credit card and pay that way. He did neither. When she gave him the amount of his purchase, pastor, he took his hand, turned it upside down, ran it over that little device that reads the universal product code, UPC Code - "everybody know what I'm talking about ?" When he swashed his hand across that thing, the little thing went "bleep, bleep" and it read something. Forgive me, but I'm a Yank, American, in England. I'm looking at the missionary and I'm going "DID YOU SEE THAT ?1 DID YOU SEE THAT ?!" He said "YES". I said "ARE YOU GOING TO ASK OR AM I ?" He said "GO AHEAD!" I said "Sir, pardon me just a second, what was THAT ?" He looked at me and said, uh, as they've said before, "you're not from around here, are you ?". I said "no I'm not, I understand my speech betrays me." He said "My World Bank account number has been embedded under my skin." He said, "The amount of my purchase was just been deducted from my World Bank account."
Below is the nugget of Jason Leopold's fine cover, on Truthout, of this astounding story:
According to documents obtained by the watchdog group the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and made available to Truthout, David Kistler, President of Hickory, North Carolina-based H.O.P.E. Ministries International, embarked on a "DC Crusade" along with dozens of members of the evangelical organization for two weeks that included two days inside the Pentagon proselytizing and preaching the "gospel" to government employees and "saving souls."
Kistler is a somewhat controversial figure whose sermons contain apocalyptic messages and bizarre prophecies. He believes certain Democratic lawmakers will burn in hell while "good Christians," such as President Bush, will be swept up into the heavens.
The Rapture will soon vacuum up good Christians, including George W. Bush, to Heaven, he said in a past sermon to his congregation. Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton will not be Raptured up to Heaven. Following The Rapture, the Anti-Christ will appear and children will be "micro-chipped."
Col. William Broome, the Pentagon chaplain, and his deputy, Maj. Alan Pomaville, invited Kistler's group to speak to DOD employees at a Pentagon prayer breakfast June 6 and in the Pentagon auditorium June 7, according to a copy of a recent newsletter published by H.O.P.E Ministries. Kistler, according to written statements made to his congregation, spent a considerable amount of his time at the Pentagon proselytizing to DOD employees in violation of federal law.