By Emily Bontrager
Pastor David Engelhardt, founding attorney at Engelhardt Law and lead pastor at King’s Church in New York City, is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the 2021 March for the Martyrs in Washington, D.C.
Pastor Engelhardt has served in pastoral ministry for over 10 years. During his time as a youth pastor, he felt that God was calling him to attend law school. Pastor Engelhardt received a law degree from Regent University Law School and started his own law firm in New York City. In 2018, Engelhardt planted King’s Church in Lower Manhattan.
On being a bi-vocational pastor, Pastor Engelhardt said in an interview with For the Martyrs, “Our faith has to have application on Earth. The Lord’s Prayer says ‘Let your Kingdom come, let thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ My impulse was to be fully grounded in real life, so I could be a witness to the people around me, so I would be surrounded by people who need God and have a way to serve those people.”
As a way to apply both his faith and his occupation as a lawyer for the Kingdom of God, Pastor Engelhardt often speaks and preaches about religious freedom in the United States, focusing specifically on the intersection of politics, religious freedom, and Christianity. He hopes to aid those around him and the church in recognizing the active role they must take in standing against threats to religious freedom in the United States and the West.
“Christians need to stand for what our country was founded on, which was religious freedom,” said Pastor Engelhardt. “We have ill treatment right now from entertainment, from our politicians in the form of different kinds of mandates.”
Pastor Engelhardt defined “ill treatment” as one of the points on the spectrum of persecution — the extreme end being the physical abuse of a religious group and the end of religious freedom. He referenced examples of growing ill treatment towards Christians from the past year, citing damage done to churches as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown.
“[Additionally,] in the United Kingdom, there are street preachers who have been arrested and jailed, many of them, for standing up and just reading scripture. And they’re reading scripture about positions that the church historically, both Protestant and Catholic, have agreed on and believed for the past 2,000 years. There are now laws that say those basic positions are hate speech.”
“This is happening right now. It’s the frog in the boiling water and the heat’s getting turned up. We need Christians that are willing to be salt and light,” said Pastor Engelhardt. “If we don’t stand up for our [own] families and our [own] churches then we won’t have the financial base that America has been to send funds to missionaries around the world and fuel them and resource them. And it will make it more painful for Christianity worldwide.”
To prevent this, Pastor Engelhardt then provided some small steps that everyone can take to defend religious freedom in their own spheres of life:
“First steps are that we would center ourselves to the Word of God and then from that place say ‘God, what have you put on my heart? What are the passions you’ve placed there? I am now going to work in that direction to see your kingdom come and your will be done.’ If that’s having a bake sale, then that’s having a bake sale. If it’s going to Iran and preaching the Gospel, then that’s going to Iran. We can be faithful only with what God has put in our hands, so that’s where we have to start.”
“There’s a thousand things you can do. It doesn’t have to be writing the next piece of legislation, and usually it doesn’t start with that because God asks us to be faithful in the little and he makes us ruler over the much.”
“The idea that I am going to fix all martyrdom in the whole world is too lofty. But you can raise awareness in your school, in your city, with your local politicians and raise money. It’s so easy to email your political representative and voice your concerns. There’s never been an easier time to make our concerns known and yet it seems that less people do it now than ever. It takes brave people to stand up and take action.”
For the Martyrs is excited to have Pastor David Engelhardt as a keynote speaker at the 2021 March for the Martyrs. To hear him speak at the March for the Martyrs, register at https://forthemartyrs.com/register/