JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – The countdown is on.
In less than one week – on Thursday night, Oct. 6 at 9p.m. EDT – “The Rosenberg Report” will premiere on TBN, the world’s most watched Christian TV network.
As my team and I have been preparing for the launch, I’ve been doing a blitz of radio and TV interviews from the TBN studios here in Jerusalem, explaining why I’ve agreed to take on something new when my plate is already so full.
I especially enjoyed the conversation I had a few days ago with my hilarious and deeply insightful friend, Eric Metaxas, the New York Times best-selling author, Salem radio show hosts, and the host of his own show on TBN.
“This is actually TBN’s first-ever weekly prime time news and commentary show from the Middle East, from Israel, from Jerusalem,” I noted.
To be sure, TBN certainly produces great specials from Israel, such as the four-part documentary on The Abraham Accords hosted by former U.S. Ambassador David Friedman.
TBN also covers Israel on its U.S.-based shows, including “The Watchman” hosted by Eric Stakelbeck, a first-rate reporter, who often comes to the Epicenter to shoot on location.
What’s more, TBN produces a show here in the land called “Insights” that “takes an inside look at modern Israel, including stories of what Israel has accomplished in regards to technology, innovation, [and] faith.”
But, as I explained to Eric, “The Rosenberg Report,” is quite different.
“As you know, for many years TBN was almost solely Bible teaching and music. Then starting with Huckabee – and of course, your show, Eric – they’ve begun moving into more commentary, social analysis, political analysis. But now they’ve gone to a new level.”
TBN first approached me two years ago about possibly doing a show from Jerusalem.
“At first, I told them, ‘No – I appreciate it. But, you know, I don’t have the time. I don’t have any bandwidth for that. I’m running ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS, the only two news websites in the world that are published daily with original news and commentary from Israel in English, from Jerusalem, by Evangelicals and Messianic Jews, for Evangelicals and Messianic Jews.”
Then, Matt Crouch, the president of the network, invited me to Dallas last December.
He and his colleagues said, “Yeah, that’s exactly what we want. What you’re doing at ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS – and your relationships with Netanyahu and Arab leaders – that’s exactly the type of insight that most Christians don’t have, and we think our people need.”
Matt emphasized that he believed that with the world spinning out of control in so many ways, it was essential that the world’s largest Christian TV network produce a weekly, primetime show from Jerusalem.
He wants a show that will not only report on but explain – from a Biblical worldview – what exactly is happening with the growing Iranian nuclear and terror threat to Israel and our allies, the dangerous alliance growing between Russia and Iran, the growing strain in U.S.-Israeli relations since President Biden took office, as well as the positive and exciting developments in the region, including how powerfully God is moving spiritually in the Jewish and Muslim world.
So, Lynn and I began praying much more seriously about this.
We consulted with the boards of Near East Media, the non-profit 501c3 organization that runs ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS, and The Joshua Fund, the other non-profit that we founded, in part, to educate Christians in North America and around the world about God’s love and heart and plan for Israel and her neighbors.
By May, we’d come to realize this was, in fact, an exciting door that God Himself was opening.
We had come to believe that this was exactly the right moment to join forces between ALL ISRAEL NEWS and TBN to create such a show – so, we made a deal.
Now, after months of planning and preparation, we’re about to really launch this thing.
I couldn’t be more excited, and I hope you and your friends will be watching.
· Please visit The Rosenberg Report website to learn more and get behind-the-scenes details – and be sure to sign up for our free email updates and alerts about the show.
· Please also watch my conversation with Eric Metaxas by clicking here.
Here is the transcript of the interview, lightly edited for clarity.
ERIC METAXAS: Hey folks, I am excited to have back as my guest, our friend, Joel Rosenberg. Now, some of you already know about Joel Rosenberg. You think. Well, he's a New York Times best-selling author of many books. He's editor in chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. And on and on and on. But today I get to talk to him about something else – it’s called THE ROSENBERG REPORT. I’m guessing that that’s named after Joel Rosenberg.
Joel Rosenberg, my friend, welcome.
ROSENBERG: [Laughing] It’s great to be on “The Eric Metaxas Show” – that’s connected to you, right?
METAXAS: Well, you know, the name wasn’t taken. So, I said, “Let’s grab it. What are the odds? You know, my name is Eric Metaxas. Okay? So, let’s grab it and”….
But this is a new show that you’re doing on TBN. And so tell us what it's about. And by the way, I know – in case people are unaware – you are in Israel. You’re going to be doing this show from Israel. But it’s a weekly news and commentary program. Tell us about it. What made you want to do this?
ROSENBERG: Yeah, this is actually TBN’s first-ever weekly prime time news and commentary show from the Middle East, from Israel, from Jerusalem. TBN has never done it. As you know, for many years TBN was almost solely Bible teaching and music. Then starting with Huckabee – and of course, you, Eric – they’ve begun moving into more commentary, social analysis, political analysis. But now they’ve gone to a new level. The TBN audience is pro-Israel, most of them….
METAXAS: TBN is bustin' out all over. They put in a bid to host the Olympics in 2028. It’s unbelievable what TBN is doing. It’s almost frightening, isn’t it? But they’re now moving into news, and they picked Joel Rosenberg – that’s you – to host a weekly show, but from Israel. That's kind of amazing, actually.
ROSENBERG: Yeah, well, I am amazed, honestly.
At first, I told them, “No – I appreciate it. But, you know, I don’t have the time. I don’t have any bandwidth for that. I’m running ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS, the two only news websites in the world that are published daily with original news and commentary from Israel in English, from Jerusalem, by Evangelicals and Messianic Jews, for Evangelicals and Messianic Jews.”
But they said, “Yeah, that’s exactly what we want. What you’re doing at ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS – and your relationships with Netanyahu and Arab leaders – that’s exactly the type of insight that most Christians don’t have and we think our people need.”
And after a lot of cajoling – no, no, a lot of prayer – I finally said, “Alright. There is going to have to be things I don’t do. But this is the world’s largest Christian television network, and I’m honored to do it.”
METAXAS: Hey, Matt Crouch, no cooking segments! Do you understand? I will not budge on that issue. No cooking segments!
Listen, I have to say, you know and I know – and most of the people listening to us know – that people who take Jesus seriously take Israel seriously.
Now, that wasn't always the case…..
ROSENBERG: Most of them do; not all.
METAXAS: Well, talk about that.
ROSENBERG: Well, Eric, the challenge is that there is so much going on here in Israel, in the region, with the Iran threat, and peace breaking out, the Abraham Accords, more and more Arab countries wanting to make peace with Israel.
But the “mainstream media,” so-called, in the United States and worldwide, they just don’t want to cover it. They’re focused on other things. They’re often focused on things that don’t even matter or aren’t even true.
There is such extreme bias against Israel and against Christianity.
So, when you add those factors all together, TBN becomes the world’s only Christian television network – or any television network – that’s making an actual primetime television show from here.
We are heading into a season where, yes, President Biden – who should be ashamed of the first nuclear deal that he negotiated with President Obama with the Iranian regime that gave $150 billion to Tehran, the worst terrorists in the world. And did the situation get better? No. The U.N. nuclear watchdog is saying, “Things have gotten much worse. Iran is this close –this close– to being ready to build nuclear weapons.” The deal did not work. That’s why Trump pulled out of it, and he was right to do it.
But you also have a situation where Biden pulled out of Afghanistan a year ago. “Let's celebrate the 9/11 twenty-year disaster in Afghanistan by surrendering to the Taliban!”
So, you’ve got Israel and Arab countries terrified that Biden has no idea what he’s doing. He thinks he does, but that’s the problem. Hubris combined with incompetence is a very dangerous cocktail. And that’s what Israeli and Arab leaders fear. That’s what Israeli and Arab people fear.
METAXAS: Joel, you know, you and I have talked many times. We talk about faith. We talk about politics. And it's so funny because you may know I’m coming out with a book right now called, Letter to the American Church, which specifically addresses the issue that there are many Christians who have a very unbiblical idea that Christians are supposed to stay out of politics, and they get nervous. And you think, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. A, that’s not possible. B, it’s not biblical.” If you care about what God cares about, sometimes that’s very political sounding. Or some people will say, “Well, that’s too political. Don’t talk about that.” And you think, “Well, wait a minute, that concerns God. It concerns God’s timetable in history. It concerns Israel, the nation of Israel.”
Talk about that for a minute because I am just really fascinated.
ROSENBERG: That's right. I mean, it’s certainly wrong to make politics an idol, to think that government – that man – can solve all of our problems that only Christ can eventually solve when He when he comes to this city, Jerusalem, and then sets up his reign.
ROSENBERG: But until then, democracies are a stewardship, right? Democracy is not written about – voting and politics are not really written about in the Bible – because there was no democracy. So, you had no influence over the Roman Empire. It was an occupying military force. But this is a stewardship that God has given us. And if you abandon the field of play – if you don’t register to vote, if you don’t vote, and if you don't vote for people that have biblical values, or at least are closer than the other team – you end up surrendering your values. And you’d better not be surprised or angry if you get run over like a bulldozer for things you totally disagree with.
Now, on Oct. 6, we launch THE ROSENBERG REPORT – 9 p.m. eastern on TBN, and it'll be replayed on Saturday evenings.
We are launching right at a moment where both Israel and the United States are coming up on very high stakes elections. You referred to it earlier. Netanyahu lost an election last year. He is no longer the prime minister. He’s the head of the opposition. But he's roaring to come back. I just met with him recently and he’s tanned, rested and ready. And he believes that come November 1st, or November 2nd, he will have enough votes to become prime minister again. We'll see.
We'll be covering that and the implications of it.
But at the same time, you’ve got the midterm elections in the United States. And look, President Biden is about the best pro-Israel Democrat that there is in the Democratic Party. And I believe sincerely he loves Israel. He came here earlier this year. However, he’s the one negotiating with the worst terrorists in the world and begging – begging– them to accept his deal, which will give them over $500 billion worth of money in the coming years. What are they going to do with that money? Are they going to build a better school system, better education, health care, jobs for the people? No, they're going to invest in terrorism and building nuclear weapons.
And, you know, for a country that shouts every Friday, “Death to Israel, Death to America,” I take that personally. I'm an American citizen and an Israeli citizen, and I live in the epicenter of the world, Jerusalem.
When murderous, genocidal tyrants threaten to wipe my people out, I take it seriously.
Does all of Congress take it seriously? Does the president take it seriously? They say they do, but we're going to find out in November what type of values and what type of policies are going to be front and center.
METAXAS: Why do you think mainstream media refuses to cover this?
ROSENBERG: It’s bias. But there’s a range of bias in the media, right?
There is “soft” bias, meaning editors, journalists, reporters, they don’t mean any harm. They just don’t get it. So, they don’t report on it at all, or fairly.
Then there’s “hard” bias – they totally get it but they’re against Christians, or they’re against the Jews, or they’re against Israel, or they’re against Zionism, or whatever it is. They know what they're doing, and they mean to be extremely hostile.
Then there’s “war,” right? That’s the Iranian media. That’s the Russian media. That’s the Turkish media. This is Al Jazeera, right?
This is outright war. And we’re dealing with all of it.
You know, we had a rocket war this summer in August – 1,100 missiles and rockets fired at Israel. It got almost no coverage in the United States. So, even Christians who care about Israel and want to know how to pray, if you pick up a copy of The New York Times, or your local paper even, or watch the CBS Evening News, or watch CNN, you know, good luck. Or even Fox.
Look, there are some who are trying to do it well. But most are just not covering these things. It’s a range of biases.
But I will say one more thing, Eric. You’re the author of the fabulous biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Here’s a Christian who was living in the midst of a genocidal empire that was rising. And he had to make decisions. He had to make decisions that that cut against all the cultural signals from the media, from the political sphere, and say, “No, this is wrong, and how do I live differently as a follower of Jesus Christ?”
And I think one of the things that I love that you do on your show – and I’m certainly going to do on mine – is ask those questions and try to answer them. ‘How do we live differently in a time where evil is rising and Washington, and so many leaders in the world, are absolutely clueless or
METAXAS: Well, I have to say, Joel, literally, my new book deals with this issue. I didn’t want to have you on to talk about my book, but when you talk about Bonhoeffer – Bonhoeffer was warning the Church that, “Hey, Church, if you do not get serious about this, forget about this, ‘Oh, we can’t be political or whatever’ – this is Satanic evil rising. And if the Church does not speak now, God will not hold us guiltless.” God is looking to His people who believe in Jesus to behave like they believe in Jesus, to speak out, to be aware of the evil, to speak against it. The Church was silent in Germany, and the nightmare that happened is no different than the nightmare that will happen if the Church is silent today. And the Church has been silent today. So, I can't think of anything more important than this issue. And I'm just so proud of you. THE ROSENBERG REPORT, It’s on TBN every week. Don’t miss it. Joel, thank you.
ROSENBERG: Thank you, Eric. Great to be with you.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.