Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence told thousands of Liberty University students that the United States is at a "testing point," urging them not to sit out this election.
"Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that we are to sit on the sidelines of history and this is no time for people of faith to sit on the sidelines," Pence told the crowd of approximately 15,000 students and guests gathered at the Vines Center on campus for Wednesday's convocation.
Noting in his 45-minute speech that he joined Donald Trump's campaign "in a heartbeat" when he was asked, Pence said the choice before Americans in the upcoming presidential election couldn't be more stark.
"Mike, it's gonna be great," Pence recalled Trump telling him the night he received the phone call formally inviting him to join the ticket. "And is has been," Pence said.
"Our party has nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down. He is a fighter, he is a winner, and I believe come Nov. 8 that Donald Trump will be elected the 45th president of the United States and we will make America great again," he continued, adding that Trump "literally embodies the spirit of America."
Raised Catholic but now a devout evangelical, Pence recounted his own journey of coming to faith. During his young adult years he didn't always see the relevance of faith but was attracted to a group of students he met who had what he characterized as a contagious joy for life, people who had an inner strength in good times and bad.
As he became more interested in the Christian faith, Pence recalled once asking a pastor friend where he might acquire a catalog to buy the cool-looking cross necklace he was wearing.
The pastor looked him straight in the eye and said words Pence said he would never forget: "Mike, you've got to wear it in your heart before you wear it around your neck." Several weeks later in Wilmore, Kentucky, Pence committed his life to Christ.
"This election is not just a choice between two people; it's a choice between two futures," Pence said.
Citing the late Chuck Colson, Pence contended that "Christians must not adopt a 'simply passing through' mindset when it comes to politics."
"President Ronald Reagan warned against the temptation of declaring yourselves 'above it all' and say both sides [are] equally culpable," Pence added.
"In this time of condescension and at times overt hostility to people of faith, we sometimes fall into the temptation to recoil and retreat, but the stakes are too high. And I would say as fellow Christian believers that we have a different obligation."
"Men and women of faith, I will tell you, this is a time for action not essays, and we must roll our sleeves up, prepare to fight every day for what we believe in."
Pence concluded his remarks by speaking about the policies he and Trump would advocate for if elected, chief among them, restoring American power on the national security front, cutting taxes and renegotiating trade deals, and repealing President Obama's signature healthcare legislation.
He then received thunderous applause upon declaring his and Trump's fierce loyalty to the state of Israel.
"I'm pro-life and I don't apologize for it," Pence added, saying he dreams of the day when "Roe v. Wade is consigned to the ash heap of history," and promised to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding.
As he closed, Pence solicited the prayers of those in attendance.
"I believe what has been true for millennia is still true today. That if [God's] people are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He'll do as He has always done throughout our storied history. He'll hear from Heaven, and He'll heal this land. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."