Category Archives: General

Wanna Bet?

13-02-27-spielbank-wiesbaden-by-RalfR-065How many times have we been told that gambling will solve all of our problems and make our state coffers flush with cash? We’ve heard that gambling is the answer to everything from school funding to medical research. In fact, gambling brings with it a whole new set of problems. Aside from violating the Golden Rule, stomping the work ethic and taking food off the table of those least able to afford it, gambling is a crime producer.

Now there is statistical proof . The Pew Research center says states with gambling see an increase in public corruption when gambling is approved. The most corrupt states in the nation are gambling states while the least corrupt do not promote gambling. This is not the last word on the subject but it is worth reading the report. You can find “For states, gambling on casinos may be bad bet” on the Pew website.

Many years ago, Alabama gave approval to dog racing in Greene County. Located in the black belt of Alabama, Greene was a picture of poverty. Despite throngs of visitors, the county is still gripped by poverty, poor education and poor healthcare. All of the promises failed. It’s worth thinking about the next time some politician tells you how gambling will cure what ails us.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Farewell 2012

2012 change 2013We close the books on 2012 today. It’s over and I’m hoping for a better 2013. It has been a difficult year in so many ways. Hardly a month has passed without some horrifying event taking place which rattles us and makes stop to ask “why?” Let’s think about the big events of 2012 and see if we can find some answers:

  • 12 were slaughtered in Aurora, Colorado
  • 27 died at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut
  • 3 dead in a mall shooting in Oregon
  • 125 died in Hurricane Sandy and her aftermath
  • In fact, there were 16 mass shootings this year which, together, took 84 lives.
  • The great winter storm of 2012 claimed 6 lives
  • Lies, name calling and rancor marked our national political system
  • The economy still struggles and many are still without jobs.

I could go on and on and on some more but you get the point. This has been a tough year in many ways. 2013 holds promise for better times or at least that is what we tell ourselves. But the truth is that there will be bad things happening in 2013. We shouldn’t be surprised, Satan is the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31). Although the evil one is greatly restricted his influence is great and his arrogance unabated.

Truth teaches that we will suffer in this world at the hands of the evil people. By inspiration Paul said,

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (1 Timothy 3:12, 13)

We are pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11) and just passing through this old world. As the song continues, “my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.” Trouble comes but we are prepared.

What are we to do? If this world is bad and only going to get worse, what can we do? How to we survive? Paul answers immediately after his warning above:

” But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (1 Timothy 3:14-17).

There are three keys for continued life in this sinful world.

Continue and Do Not Give Up

Paul tells Timothy that he already knows and has been taught the truth. It came through the teaching of his mother and his grandmother and through his association with the “sacred writings.”  For Timothy, that would have been what we call the Old Testament. Timothy must not change because of the times. Instead he was to continue.

That’s good advice for us too. We know the sacred writings and we ought remain in them. We have firmly believed  and no matter what may happen in some place near or far we do not change. To surrender is beyond our comprehension.

Know the Book

Do you notice the very central place given to Scripture? We read of both sacred writings and Scripture. Both are the same and are first formed in the mind of God (1 Corinthians 2:11) and then given to man through the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

The necessity of knowing the truth cannot be overstated. We must take it in (Psalm 119:11) and dwell upon it. I fear that most do not give adequate place in their lives to Bible reading. A horrible pestilence of biblical illiteracy has settled upon us. That ignorance allows and sustains false teaching which arises from the devil himself. If we are to stand against the troubles of this world, we must know the book.

Be Equipped

Any soldier knows that his equipment is vital to the success of his mission and even to his own survival. There is no difference with the disciple. We must equip ourselves for combat knowing that Satan will assault us at every turn (Ephesians 6:16, 1 Peter 5:8). There are many tools with which we must equip ourselves (Ephesians 6:10-18) but none so important as a knowledge of the truth of God’s word. Everything we know about God, about Jesus, about sin and salvation, comes from the word of God. We cannot live without it.

We make so many preparations in this life. We prepare for emergencies with insurance policies, we prepare for retirement with Roths and IRAs, we prepare for a high quality of life with gym memberships and well prepared meals. Do we also prepare for life and the spiritual troubles that are certain to come our way? We must be equipped.

We welcome 2013 with open arms and great hope. We seek more followers for the kingdom this year. We seek to spread the word further. But we know that troubles are on the horizon. Nevertheless we do not faint for out hope is in an unfailing Lord who gave us all!


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter  @jbevans.

Christian Unity

Christian unity is an oft sought but rarely found product in our diverse world.  Jesus himself desired the unity of his disciples and specifically prayed for it in the High Priestly prayer of John chapter 17. It is essential for all believers to consider Jesus’ thinking and prayers.

Jesus Prayed for Christian Unity

Jesus prayed for christian unity. Praying for his disciples Jesus asked, “keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one..’ (John 17:11). In verse 21, “that they may all be one…” In verse 22, “that they may be one even as we are one.”  In verse 23, and note the addition of the adjective, “that they may become perfectly one…” Four times in this chapter Jesus specifically prays for unity among his believers.

It’s important to note Jesus’ standard of unity that he seeks. He desires perfect unity. This suggests a complete unity in all matters. The context drives home this point when we see that the oneness or unity between Jesus and his Father is the standard of unity (see verses 21 and 22). We have come to accept the goal of “unity in diversity” but there is no diversity here. There is not the tiniest space between the Father and the Son and this is the kind of unity Jesus desires for his followers.

Paul was a great follower of Jesus. When he wrote to the fractured church in Corinth he echoed the same thoughts as the Lord.

 “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”

The Corinthians had begun to coalesce around personalities in the church. The result was a disunity that Jesus abhors. Within his body, the church, believers are to stand together in sweet unity with one another and speak the same things. Our goals and our efforts are the same, our doctrine is the same for we are one. The prayer for unity in John is demonstrated in practice among the Corinthians.

The same plea is given by Paul to the Ephesians. These beloved brethren were taught of the depth of God’s grace in salvation. In Ephesians 3:20 Paul calls for glory to Jesus in the church. In the next verse, Ephesians 4:1, he calls upon the believers to “walk worthy” of the their calling and in verse 3 to maintain the “unity of the spirit.” 

What follows next, in Ephesians 4:4-6, is the basis for that unity.

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

I would suggest that Christendom is about half way there. We believe in one God and we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, as the son of God. But beyond that the unity crumbles. We cannot honestly say that we believe in and hold forth, one faith. Nor can Christendom claim a single baptism. There are at least a half dozen baptisms taught within Christendom today.

Given that unity is so precious to Jesus we conclude that the global community of Christ-believers is failing. We are not united. We stand under different names, teaching different doctrines and predicating our faith upon different teachings.



Such division displeases Jesus.

Hope for Christian Unity

Let’s go back to [esvignore] John 17 [/esvignore] and find the way to unity.

The starting point for Christian Unity is the glory of God. Jesus came to bring glory to the Father (John 17:1-5). Our goal must also be to glorify God. Let us destroy the altars to our own successes and victories and give all the glory to God. Only by shattering our own arrogance can we adequately humble ourselves before the Lord (James 4:10).

Second, Christian Unity comes from and through the Word of God. Consider verse 8:

“For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.”

Zero in on the phrase, “I have given them the words that you gave me.” Most immediately, Jesus is speaking of the truth of his Sonship. But note that they came to that knowledge through the words given Jesus from God. Jesus prays that that his disciples by made holy, sanctified, by God. But how? “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” ([esvignore]John 17:17[/esvignore]). And again, in verse 19, he asks the Father to sanctify his people “in truth.”

This idea of sanctification in truth is empowered all the more when we consider inspiration. Paul says Scripture is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16). The word used here is a compound Greek verb which literally means that Scripture is “breathed out by God.” The ESV so translates it that way. The beauty of this thought is that God has exuded his word into the minds of holy men who have recorded the word and given it to us. Through every phase of inspiration the word remains God’s, the writers were tools of God to bring truth to men (2 Peter 1:21).

So if we have the Scriptures, and we do, and if the Scriptures are true, and they are, and if it is through truth that unity comes, and it is, we then have a real hope of unity.

We can begin the long road back to unity today if men will come together in the one place where we can all stand – the Bible. We must begin today to eliminate sectarianism and denominationalism from our lives.

Let us revel in the sanctifying power of the word alone. Let us eschew additions and subtractions. Let us renounce convenient teachings and demand truth from the pulpits of our land. Let us call Bible things by Bible names and allow God to be the absolute Lord of all our lives. It is possible!


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter  @jbevans.

Pornography and Children

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced a nationwide roundup of pedophiles and child-sex pimps. At the same time they reported the recovery of 52 children forced into child prostitution. Charges came throughout the nation in 30 of the FBI’s divisions in 36 cities. Among the state and local charges leveled against the 700 adults are charges of internet child pornography.

The Ugliest Side of Pornography

In many articles here we have discussed [cref internet-pornography-why-it-matters pornography and the home]. It is a destructive behavior which grows in intensity and behaves much like a drug or alcohol addiction. While [cref  how-you-can-beat-internet-pornography internet pornography] can be overcome it can also spiral downward into ever more depraved conduct.

Let’s be clear, not every person who views pornography becomes a child abuser. In fact most do not. However a wise person will be aware of the direction their habit may take.

“It’s not as if most men intend to get into…child pornography,” says author Pamela Paul in her book Pornified: How Pornography Is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. “Desensitization is a major stage in becoming addicted to pornography” ((Pamela Paul, Pornified, Times Books, 2005. pg. 227)) she adds.
Now here is the scary part from Paul’s book:

Addicts are, however, more likely to take their habits off line. Though regular users appear to be just as likely to visit strip clubs, sex addicts take it further, hiring escorts, attending swingers clubs, exposing themselves in public, and molesting children. For the sex addict, pornography often leads logically into real-world sexual behaviors with other men, women and children.” ((ibid, pg. 226))

Of course no one thinks themselves an addict. No one sets out to be addicted to anything. Today’s alcoholic was yesterday’s social drinker. Likewise, the casual viewer of porn today may become tomorrow’s molester.

End of Innocence

Officials readily admit that there is no way to return the innocence to the children enslaved for such purposes. They are marred for life. But it is also true that the insertion of pornography into our homes via the internet is also harming people. Sexual misconduct shatters families and ruptures that which God has given us.

Be vigilant and do not allow this horrible monster to enslave you.

Should the IRS Control the Pulpit?

Last week preachers from across the nation used their Sunday sermons to publically endorse a single candidate for President of the United States.  Aside from what one might think of the wisdom of such an endorsement, it put their congregations at odds with federal tax laws regarding the churches tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This action and the resulting discussion has brought to the foreground a thorny issue which for years has not been discussed: Should  government have the power to silence the pulpit for any reason?

Let us first observe that the preachers who made endorsements did so in violation of unambiguous laws which require tax exempt organizations to avoid endorsing individual candidates for political office.  As such, unless they terminate their tax exempt status, they are in violation of  the law of the land and risk losing their status. If a church loses its tax exempt status, it must pay taxes on its weekly contribution and likely would also have to pay state taxes on property. This is a weighty financial question as well and should not be lightly considered. We will soon examine this case of civil disobedience from a Biblical perspective.

Historically, the laws restricting the extent of pulpit involvement in political campaign began in 1954 during a congressional debate of the tax code. The provision restricting tax exempt organizations from direct or indirect campaign involvement was inserted without hearings or debate by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson. There is no record to indicate why the restriction was placed. The rule applies to all organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS tax code, not just to churches. Although the United States Supreme Court has never heard arguments regarding churches and political campaigns, lower courts have and have upheld the IRS requirements. Generally, it is thought the rules do not violate First Amendment guarantees regarding  free speech or violate the constitutional establishment/separation clause either. Churches do have the absolute choice to avoid the conflict altogether if they are willing to forego their tax exempt status.

My judgment is that nothing should restrict the preaching of truth and such restrictions ought be immediately removed. However, such is a political question and beyond my ability to change. Certainly John the Baptist was unafraid to challenge the powers that be when he pointed to the moral failings of King Herod (Luke 3:19). Preachers must never be afraid of, or restricted in, their responsibility to preach against sin.

But even if there were no such restriction, preachers would still have to ask if there is wisdom in using the pulpit to endorse a given political candidate. And it is on this point that I disagree with many. I made a choice many years ago to never endorse a political candidate neither as a preacher nor a private citizen. As a minister of the Gospel  I am blessed to be able to speak for God. As such, I only have my credibility and the credibility of the Bible as tools of my trade. Should I become tarnished by some endorsement, I have damaged the message of Christ. I know of no individual worth such a gamble.

Consider  the possibility that after endorsing some candidate, that same candidate becomes involved in a terrible scandal. Would that not reflect upon the preacher and upon the church? It is the wiser decision to stick to the issues themselves and avoid personal endorsements.

Later this week, we will explore the idea of civil disobedience and the circumstances under which breaking the law would be acceptable for the Christian. I hope you will read carefully that article too.

Welcome to the Study!

I guess it takes a touch of arrogance to create and write a blog. After all, the central assumption is that you have something worth saying and something worth hearing. Truthfully, I have neither. However God certainly has something to say and His word is worth hearing. So, with the intent to speak God’s word, I am happy to inaugurate the Preacher’s Study blog.

The plan to is to write briefly about passages of Scripture that impact me in my study. I also hope to write about our culture and identify certain issues that are impacted by the Bible. So often I come across passages that I really want to talk about but that do not fit concisely into a sermon or Bible class. Time in the pulpit is sacred time and ought not be taken up with Oprah style chit-chat. The blog will allow me greater freedom to discuss some of those issues.

However, you will find that Bible study will make up a significant amount of the content of Preacher’s Study. In the sidebar you will see links to various books of Scripture that have corresponding articles. Over time, all 66 books will be covered.

Comments from readers are greatly desired. To eliminate advertisements and any inappropriate content, I do moderate all comments. Don’t expect to see your comment immediately but it won’t take too long to appear.

Thanks for dropping by and do let me hear from you!