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Pastor Lutzer Shares The Gospel On National T.V. In Albania

A message from Pastor Erwin Lutzer, “This is the first time the Gospel was shared on national T.V. in Albania. The interview went viral and was the number one shared program on April 29, 2024. Pastor Plator, one of the leaders of the evangelical movement, was also interviewed. He is organizing all of my engagements, including a large rally scheduled for Saturday, May 4. The station received complaints for letting me talk openly about Jesus but all is well. Thank you so much for your prayers. God is answering!”

The following is a translated transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.


Flori Gjini (Co-Host) (00:02): Let’s go back, friends, to the final segment of the program, where we’ll engage in a conversation. The conversation is particularly interesting as we are just a few days away from Orthodox Easter, which falls on May 5th. Today, however, we’ll discuss some upcoming events planned in the city of Korçë aimed at gathering as many young people as possible and bringing them closer to God. We have a special guest from America, a friend of Albanians, Pastor Erwin Lutzer. He is a renowned evangelical Christian speaker, radio broadcaster, and author of 70 books. Among his works is “Hitler’s Cross,” which he has brought with him to the studio today. Lutzer has been awarded the Gold Medallion Award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and his bestselling books include “We Will Not Be Silence” and “One Minute After You Die.” His critique of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel, “The Da Vinci Code,” titled “The Da Vinci Deception,” has garnered significant attention in both secular and Christian markets. You are witnessing some moments where the pastor himself is delivering speeches to the public. He served as the senior pastor of the [Edgewater] Baptist Church in Chicago from 1971 to 1977, during which time he completed a master’s degree in philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. It is indeed important to briefly discuss his doctoral program as well as many other influences, and he became the 16th senior pastor of Moody Church in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Meanwhile, we will also have the opportunity to speak with Pastor Plator Çollaku, who is the head pastor at the Libonik Maliq Evangelical Church, a network that includes nine evangelical churches in the southeast. He is the found of Hands of Providence Albania, a foundation that has done extraordinary work in the jungle area and among people in need. Good morning, welcome! Good morning. 

Greta Topjana (Co-Host): Before we start the conversation, we’ll have a promo for an interesting activity on the fourth, initially following it and then returning to discuss everything that Flori read and said about you. Let’s follow the promo. 

Plator Çollaku (In A Recorded Promotion Video) (02:29): Greetings dear evangelicals! We invite you to a very special event on May 4th [2024] at 5:00PM at the Children’s Center in the city of Korçë, where we will celebrate the resurrection of Christ, our Lord, together. We are at an event just before Easter, so let us all together show that we are one voice, one mind, and one heart for God and for our Lord, who loved us so much and died on the cross for us. We will have a very special speaker, Erwin Lutzer. Erwin Lutze has been the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, a church that has changed the lives of the city for hundreds of years, and for this reason, we have invited him for the second time this Easter to speak with us. Pastor Lutzer is the author of 70 books; one of his most famous books is “Hitler’s Cross.” He is also a well-known speaker on radio and television. An evangelist, counselor, and one of the pastors who have changed the history and lives of thousands of people in the city of Chicago for this reason.

Topjana (03:32): Well, we followed the activity on May 4th that will be held. In fact, it was the pastor himself in our studio who was explaining and giving some details, and in the end, he also presented Pastor Erwin Lutzer, who also came from the United States of America. Good morning! Welcome! 

Erwin Lutzer (03:48): I’m so glad to be able to be able to be with you today. Thank you so much for the opportunity of being with you.

Topjana (03:55): I’ll ask you a little about your arrival in Albania, it’s the first time and perhaps a comment on this activity that will take place on May 4th where you will also be present. 

Lutzer (04:06): Actually, this is my second time in Albania. I was here last year at the same time, and as far as the event that’s happening that was just mentioned, I’m going to be speaking on the topic of “One Minute After You Die.” Now, it’s very important to realize that I wrote a book on that topic and it’s the book that has sold the most copies of all the books that I’ve written. So, maybe we can talk about that at some point. But as far as the country of Albania is concerned, we have been so welcomed. Your people have been so kind to us. And, so we’re deeply appreciative of the opportunity to be here. 

Topjana (04:48): In fact, Plator, you have organized his arrival in Albania. A few more details about what will happen on May 4th, along with Mr. Erwin’s arrival, how will the information be conveyed to the believers and not only. 

Çollaku (05:05): We have had a connection for several years with The Moody Church in Chicago, both as a foundation and as an evangelical church in the southeast region. It has been a church that has contributed extraordinarily to all social projects we have, such as residential centers for needy children and our daily centers. It has also helped us in matters of our faith because we are evangelicals, and what we believe has been the common ground that has been born between both of our churches. What will happen on May 4th is a festive event on the occasion of Easter to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s a place for Easter where the entire evangelical community in the southeast will gather at this event organized at the Children’s Center. This is the whole story about what will happen. 

Gjini (06:01): Is it an activity that will last long? 

Çollaku (05:05): We think our activity will last about two hours. We will revisit the history of evangelicals in the city of Korçë; it’s a very painful history. It will be a mini-documentary about the history and life of evangelicals because evangelicals in that city have been around for 200 years, but rarely has there been a program about the lives of Protestants or evangelicals in the city of Korçë, and the story of Koci Treska or Papa Sotiri, who during communism spent four years in prison, is also interesting. It’s the story of that family that will be revisited through this mini-documentary. 

Gjini (06:49): Interesting! 

Çollaku (06:49): We will also have speaker, Pastor Lutzer, who will initially talk about one of his most important topics, which is “One Minute After Death.” There will also be time for worship and a concert. 

Topjana (07:03): Maybe to know what happens or what significance it has because it is very interesting “One Minute After Death.” 

Lutzer (07:10): That is very interesting. In fact, it’s the most important issue that somebody can face. And, that is, “What happens after we die?” Now, there are many people who have various experiences that they think that they know what lies on the other side. But really, Jesus is the only one who can tell us because the Bible says that He was crucified, He was put into a grave, He rose again from the dead, and so He knows what lies on the other side. And Jesus made it very clear that death is not the end. And so the question is: “Are we ready to meet God?” Now if you asked the question about The Moody Church in Chicago and the interesting name of “Moody,” Moody actually was an evangelist in the 1800’s. He began The Moody Church, and he began it with children. And the thing that he understood, even in the 1800’s, was that there is a message through Jesus Christ, whereby people can actually be changed. Now, here’s what people have to understand, is that we have many different religions, and various ways that you can see religion but unfortunately, many of these other ways cannot take away our sins, they cannot deliver us from guilt and from the sense of regret. And even right now, there are many people listening who are in despair. And what they need to know is that, when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me”, he really was speaking the truth and is through Him that we have forgiveness of sins and it is through Him that we are right with God. This is the best news anyone can here. When we turn from our sins to Christ, we receive His righteousness, so that when we die, we are welcomed into heaven as if we are Christ, because it’s on the basis of what He did and not what we did. And it’s this message that we’ve been preaching in Chicago, it’s the message also here in Korçë, when we’ll be in Korçë, but also of course here in Tirana. That’s really the burden is to give that message out. And we do all that we possibly can to help children in orphanages and in various places. But we always know that the needs of mankind are very deep and those can only be met through faith in Christ. 

Gjini (10:14): Mr. Lutzer, could you tell us how you met the Lord? How did it all begin? 

Lutzer (10:16): I was born on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. Now, that’s a long way from here, of course. And I was born into a home where my parents read the Bible to us. But at the age of 14, I was so convicted of my sin. I knew that I was a sinner. And my parents explained to me that the way in which you come to know God is through Jesus Christ. So we got down on our knees in this little farm home in Saskatchewan, Canada. And at that point, I recognized my sin; I turned from my sin and by faith, received Christ as Savior. And the next day, I knew that I knew God. And the reason that you know this, is because there is within you, the Bible says the Holy Spirit comes into a person’s life and that Holy Spirit gives us a sense of peace and a sense of knowledge that we belong to God. And that’s been my motivating message throughout all of these years and you can get to that message in various ways and various places that I’ve preached. But that’s actually how I came to know God. So afterwards, I began to take an interest in reading the Bible; I went to a Bible school. I went to a seminary to study because I know God was calling me to be a preacher. And that’s why it was my privilege to be in Chicago for many years and then to preach in different countries in the world, including your beautiful country of Albania. 

Gjini (12:10): When you say that at 14 you knew you were sinning, what sins does a 14-year-old commit? 

Lutzer (12:21): Excellent question! The fact is that we are all born with a tendency to sin. And we may think that these sins are little. Maybe it’s lying, maybe it’s dishonestly, maybe it’s times of anger, when we show that. So, I wasn’t committing any great sins. I wasn’t into drugs or immorality or anything. But still I knew that I was not in fellowship with God. And that actually is true of every human being. When you stop to think of it; when they look deeply into their hearts, they begin to say to themselves, “You know, I’m not in fellowship with God because there’s something wrong with me.” And you think of all the people who are listening right now. They know that they’ve done things that are sinful and they know that intuitively. And so, you don’t have to commit a lot of great sins in order to know that you’re a sinner. 

Gjini (13:29): So much collaboration, as Plator also mentioned, with the church in Chicago, Moody Church. How did this successful collaboration of yours start, where today Mr. Lutzer is coming to Albania for such an important event? 

Çollaku (13:48): The whole story started through a friend of ours who contacted us through Facebook. His name is Adi Selfollari, and his is from the area. We studied together in the same school. Adi, by profession, was a doctor before he went to the United States, where he started his own business. He’s one of the Albanians who have influenced not only the life of that city but also our area. Adi has always had a heart for Albania and a heart for his area in Sovjan. The Moody Church, along with Adi and some other people, sponsored the construction of a building in that area, which is one of the most beautiful buildings, and it’s from his personal contribution. But Adi has also helped in that area to change people’s lives with their social problems. I want to mention just one fact where COVI started all over the world and the social problems that accompanied this disease. Adi also contributed to the assistance of 2784 families, in 6 months in our area, easing the issue of poverty. Albanians who are outside always have a heart here with us. He has been a person whom Pastor Lutzer has influenced in an extraordinary way in Adi’s life. He came to faith by listening to Pastor Lutzer every morning on his radio show in Chicago. 

Topjana (15:26): Has Adi become a believer because of Mr. Lutzer? 

Lutzer (15:27): You know, Adi was listening to the radio and in America among many stations every day. And he was listening to me, and said that the God of Christianity is different than other gods. And that make him angry because he thought that there was various gods in other religions. And so he bought a Bible and he began to study the Bible and he began to realize something. That the God of Christianity is very different and not only different but we can know Him through Jesus Christ.   
So Adi went through the same experience as an adult, I think he was 37 or 38-years-old, as I did at the age of 14 when he recognized that Christ was the only way to the Father. Now, I know that we live in a society that is largely secular so what I’m saying here is contrary to what a lot of people believe. But I would like to challenge them to read the New Testament and go, for example, to the fourth book of the New testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and read it and ask yourself, “Who is this Jesus?” who says, “I am the bread of life , he who comes to me shall never hunger; he that believes on me shall never thirst.” I mean, He made these incredible claims. And as you study it, you begin to realize that He was who He claimed to be. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. If you believe on me, someday, you’ll be resurrected.” So, sometimes, people think of Jesus just in a very mystical kind of way. It’s very important for them to actually read what the Bible has to say about Him. And when you do that, you just say to yourself, “Wow! This man is the Son of God. He’s the One who is qualified to say these things.”  

Gjini (17:36): I would like to ask you a bit, since you are in this conversation, it was very interesting that you opened it, because there are many questions in our era where there are skeptics, atheists, agnostics, people who have changed their thoughts over time, so different thoughts. You are often asked why people choose to believe in a book like “The Da Vinci Code” where you have written that it is a hoax. So they choose to go towards some facts that are sometimes indeterminate but on the other hand become viral. 

Lutzer (18:17): I want to say this, that when people ask questions and have doubts, I love it! I love to talk to people like that! Because God is able to handle people who have honest doubts. Now, if we are dishonest doubters, that’s a different thing. But in the Bible, it’s okay to have doubts as long as you are honestly looking for the truth. But sometimes people have doubts because they want to find a way out of their lives without having to deal with sin and deal with Jesus. 
So, what we have to do is this. Now, when it comes to the “Da Vinci Code,” and that was years ago I wrote that book, and I showed historically, it is so weak. And it is really, when you look at the gnostic gospels, they are a synthesis between Greek Philosophy and Christianity. And you know what? In the gnostic gospel, there’s not a single reference to a river, to a mountain, or to a city. And so it was really based on mythology. When you get to the Bible, when you actually read it, you discover, “Wow! This book was rooted in history.” So when people have doubts, that’s perfectly fine. But what you have to do, is try to get them to the source and actually investigate what the Bible has to say. And that’s often transforming for them because they say, “Wow! I didn’t know this was that.” I mean, there are people who go to church, and they listen to these sermons, and they hear about Jesus, and so forth. But they have never really dealt with the essence of who they are and who Jesus is. And once you do that, you begin to understand, He is different from all the other religious leaders. Why? He actually has the qualifications to be a Savior. He was crucified, He was buried, He rose again (Excellent proof of that, by the way; huge books have been written showing the historical nature of Jesus Christ). So, what you try to get doubters to do, is to go back to that. 

So, I’ve lectured in universities, I’ve lectured in various places, trying to challenge people to investigate Christ because many of them remember something from their childhood about Him and they just think, “Well, He’s just one among many.” You know, actually, He’s very different and He is a Savior. And you’re agreeing with me, you’ve just been saying “Yes.” 

Topjana (21:10): I was going to answer in English. Actually, what I had in mind, besides the fact that I agree with some things, is that Albania is a predominately Muslim country, and therefore I wanted to ask Plator if there have been people who have heard you, you as well, and have wanted to convert their faith from Islam and to turn to Evangelicalism or another belief? 

Çollaku (21:35): Our stance is not antagonistic towards another religious belief. What we believe in is the transformation of the human heart, that when they recognize Christ, their lives change once and for all. Evangelical belief is a relatively new one, in fact, after the 1990s. We have been historically present in the city of Korçë, but not throughout Albania. Our evangelical belief consists of changing the human heart. 

Gjini (22:09): In 2000, evangelical belief received massive support in Albania, and this must be said. 

Çollaku (22:16): There are many reasons for this: firstly, it was the crisis in Kosovo and the refugees, where evangelical believers and evangelical communities from around the world helped with the management of all refugee camps in Albania. We had a positive impact on alleviating poverty in this country, but it’s normal that most of us come from different religious beliefs. I come from an Orthodox background in my family, and someone else comes from a Muslim faith. Everyone has the right to choose their religious belief, but evangelical belief consists of changing the human heart, and is not just a faith; it is a belief in the connection between the individual and God. 

Topjana (23:02): So, I’m asking if there are others who have embraced it.

Gjini (23:03): I have two more questions, short because we’re nearing the end of the show, and we didn’t’ even notice how quickly the time went Mr. Lutzer. Have there been moments when you doubted that God exists, over the years? 

Lutzer (23:18): No, but I can understand why people would doubt. And when they do, I love to talk to them. Actually, even atheists, if they were logical, would believe in God. Now, if I were to explain that, I’d have to have ten or fifteen minutes and we’d have to get into philosophy, okay? But really, when you stop to think of it, even on a superficial level, you see the sun, the moon, the stars, and they all work in harmony. And they can predict an eclipse years in advance. That can’t just happen. And furthermore, young man, I want to tell you something: In an atheistic world, we came up through the animal world. For example, Darwin said that the baboon is our grandfather. Well, that’s not very encouraging. You are created in the image of God, and therefore, every human being is special. And that’s why I believe it’s so important for us to understand the Bible, because, at last, we are given reasons to believe. And when you stop to think of it, it makes sense—it really does. 

Gjini (24:41): Now, I’ll ask about the present era. One of the questions that is always to be address is, if God exists, why do we have situations of war today, people dying, people suffering, class differences? Why does evil exist? 

Lutzer (25:07): Excellent question. Excellent question. The problem of evil does not call into question the existence of God. But it does call into question what God is like. So, that’s why it is a problem. But isn’t it wonderful, well, the Bible teaches of course that, God created man and that man sinned. And so, if all of this is the result of sin, including all these evils, and this can get very complicated. But the good news is this: That despite all these evils, when you look at these things from the standpoint of eternity, isn’t it wonderful that God is going to finally bring justice, and people who have done such great evils are going to be accountable to Him? And the Bible even speaks about hell. In other words, one day, I was walking along with an atheist friend of mine—he was Jewish. We used to walk the sidewalk together. And I said to him, “Isn’t it troubling to you to know that, according to atheism, Hitler is never going to be brought to justice?” All of the injustices of the world, are never going to be answered justly. But if you believe in God, and that God is just, and that every man (You know the Bible says that “it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.”)…When you believe that, then you know that, all of the things that have been wrong, are ultimately going to be made right through the justice of God. So, despite all the difficulties and the questions you have raised (I wrestled with that for years because there isn’t really a good, satisfying answer), at the end of the day, it’s much better to believe in God who’s going to bring about justice than it is to not believe in God and realize that all these things in the world are never going to be brought to justice. 

Gjini (27:22): I wanted to ask you another question, but we don’t have time anymore, but we’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future. 

Lutzer (27:25): I just want to say thank you to the two of you. Thank you for having us, and God bless you. And think about what I said, because there’s people listening right now, who are afraid of death, people who are overcome by guilt. It’s Jesus that they need.

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