Tag Archives: politics

5 Ways to be a Christian After the Election

Chaos is the rule.

Trouble is brewing across the nation as we head into the final weekend of campaigning for the presidency of the United States. All of the congressional seats are up for grabs as are a third of the Senate seats. No matter what happens, somebody will be mad.

Philadelphia faces riots after the shooting of an African-American man. The protests are similar to what we saw earlier this year in the Northwest. ((Hurdle, J., Robertson, C., & Oppel, R. (2020, October 28). Days From Election, Police Killing of Black Man Roils Philadelphia. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/28/us/philadelphia-police-shooting.html)) In Washington D.C. protests turned violent after the death of a black man police were trying to stop. ((DeMarche, E. (2020, October 29). Protesters clash with DC police for second night over fatal moped crash. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://www.foxnews.com/us/protesters-clash-with-dc-police-for-second-night-over-fatal-moped-crash)) Armed adical right-wing and radical left-wing groups square-off to “protect” people from the opposing side. ((Fountaine, H. (2020, September 5). Armed group ‘patriots,’ local protesters face off near Jefferson Square Park. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/armed-patriot-group-local-protesters-face-off-near-jefferson-square-park/ar-BB18Km4h)) Thompson-Reuters news service reports that dozens of groups are preparing for protests, hopefully peaceful, depending upon the outcome of the election. ((Timmons, H., & Alper, A. (2020, October 29). Americans plan widespread protests if Trump interferes with election. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://news.trust.org/item/20201029090612-t69f4))

We could be facing civil unrest greater than many have ever witnessed. Christians must not contribute to the troubles. We are people of peace and witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether in-person or via social media we must not lend our voice to the voices of hate.

Be a Christian with your mouth

James says the tongue is incredibly dangerous.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:5-8

Inspired Solomon says it this way:

A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.

Proverbs 16:27

Christians must not use their tongue (or keyboards) to foment hatred and chaos in the aftermath of the election. The winner is unimportant. How we behave is vital.

Be a Christian; Be salt

Participating in the democratic process is a perfect way to be the needed salt and influence the direction of our country. It was Jesus who reminded us that we are the salt of the earth.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:13

Salt that does not function properly is useless! Don’t use your presence on social media to sow discord. Salt the conversation with words of goodness, hope, and courage. Let the world see your light so that they will give glory to God for what you have said (Matthew 5:14-16). Think about it! God can be glorified because of you! For those weaned on vinegar how wonderful to garnish them with a proper pinch of salt. Maybe I’m weird, but I’d rather people glorify God instead of Biden or Trump.

Be a Christian; Talk Jesus

Conversation is political. If you meet a friend in-person or talk with them online, it is probable that politics is the topic. Often, that chat is pleasant because we agree. Still, the topic is Trump or Biden, not Jesus.

When the original Christians were savagely attacked, they became refugees and went everywhere preaching Jesus (Acts 8:4). Even when unfairly arrested by the religious leaders, Peter and John responded with a lesson about Jesus (Acts 4:5-12).

It doesn’t matter how the election ends; if we don’t know Jesus we are absolutely, unquestionably lost!

Be a Christian; Wander

I read Hebrews this morning. I was struck by this verse:

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Hebrews 11:13

In verse 38 they are described as wandering about but always awaiting the promised glory. We must not become so comfortable with this world that we are not homesick for heaven. Albert Brumley penned the immortal words of the song that begins, “This world is not my home I’m just a passing through…” Let that be our daily anthem. The Biden’s Trumps, Obamas, Clintons, and Bushs are all just temporary. Wander to thoughts of glory!

Be a Christian; Be peace

It’s ironic that an internet search for “peacemaker” returns stories and images of the classic Colt M1873 revolver which was called “The Peacemaker.((Colt Single Action Army. (2020, October 07). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_Single_Action_Army)). Not far behind were pictures of the B36 bomber used during the Cold War Years.((Convair B-36 Peacemaker. (2020, September 23). Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_B-36_Peacemaker))

Christian peacemaking is different.

Jesus called us to peace and expected his people to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). Wouldn’t it be great if we were known as people of reconciliation. What if we called for peace after the election? What if our bonding with Jesus were better known than our like for a particular candidate? What glory would flow to the Lord!

Some will claim that Jesus was no peacemaker and they will cite Matthew 10:34. Jesus claim had nothing to do with the everyday cares of the world and surely had no reference to politics! Jesus spoke of the conflict that between ultimate good and ultimate evil. The context is clear.

As I write this on Thursday and Friday before the election next week, I have no way of knowing the outcome. I will vote. Although I do not endorse candidates I suspect most know where I stand. I will promise my readers that I will be a beacon of light, a dash of salt and a voice of peace as I wander through our common future. Will you join me? Your comments are welcomed as always.

Morality is Dead

morality is deadMorality is dead. It’s as dead as old Jacob Marley.

Maybe that is an overstatement, but morality is surely on life support, and her heart rate is dropping quickly. Previously, we have written of moral failures by politicians. But more concerning is the excusing gymnastics done by church leaders in defense of their chosen party. It has continued this week in the form of “evangelical leaders” who are excusing reports of marital infidelity.  I support most of the political positions of this person. But I do not have to agree or excuse every aspect of his conduct. Indeed, I cannot. These so-called leaders should be ashamed.

God Judges Morality

God is the righteous judge (Psalm 7:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:8). He will judge all at the appointed time (Acts 10:42; Hebrews 9:27). God will judge based on his word (Revelation 20:12). No man has the right or responsibility to send another man to hell or to grant him eternal life. Such is solely the province of God. However, we do have a responsibility to identify and rebuke sin wherever it arises (2 Timothy 4:2). Such is impossible without wise observations.

If a person denies immoral conduct, we are almost certainly left with incomplete knowledge and should proceed cautiously and with extreme humility. But we must never squander the opportunity to call sin what it is: an unholy, God-opposing act of pride.

Unchanging Morality

Morality doesn’t change and is not modified by current thought. Society is must never be the source of morality. Morality is not a democratic principle to be debated and decided based on majority opinions or votes. Morality is fixed. The Lord is the source of morality, and he doesn’t change (Hebrews 13:8). God is not a man, and he is wholly external to our world. Since he is not subject to our world, he is  the perfect lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22; James 4:12). His word has been given “once for all.” (Jude 3).

To argue that morality changes with time are a human power grab. If a man can control morality, he can then live any way he chooses. Consider the immorality of human slavery. I doubt any thinking person would call the 19th-century American slavery laws moral. They were not. Yet, those laws were legal! The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were passed by the German Reichstag and were the basis for the immoral treatment of Jewish persons. These laws and their subsequent enforcement were undeniably immoral, but they were legal! It should be clear that man has no business tampering with morality.

Calling Sin What It Is: Sin

In an effort to appease some people we have become non-confrontational. We do not wish to offend. In truth, we do no good to a sinner when we ignore his separation from God. He has developed “itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3) and we are only scratching that itch! No man is perfect. All sin (Romans 3:23). We must all work together to overcome sin. I may support many things bout a man. I may respect his successes and his thoughts. But I must never be seen as supportive of his sin.

— Bryant Evans

Preachers and Roy Moore: A Teachable Moment

politicsSince Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority swept Ronald Reagan to victory in the 1980 Presidential Primary and General Election, politics have become more and more intertwined with faith. Nowhere is this mixing more evident than in the so-called evangelical churches. The politics of faith has even made its way into the pulpit and preaching of some churches. The current controversy over U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore provides a powerful illustration of what can happen when personal politics blend with preaching the word.

Preachers have no business endorsing individual candidates from the pulpit. Our preaching upholds Jesus to the world, not men. We must preach the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and avoid unnecessary entanglements in the affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4). However, Christians are the light and the salt of this world and must bring their influence to bear where possible (Matthew 5:13-16). I argue that the best way for preachers to influence is by teaching the Bible in all of its authority. God is the only legitimate moral lawgiver and, as such, his word controls our lives.

The current political fiasco involving Roy Moore is instructive for preachers. Some, who backed the candidate from the pulpit now find themselves in a squeeze: “God’s candidate” is accused of pedophilia and multiple counts of sexual misconduct. What’s an endorsing preacher to do? He must learn that using the pulpit to endorse any candidate is fraught with the danger of bringing disrespect upon himself as the proclaimer of the word of God.

I have no certainty that Roy Moore is guilty, nor am I certain that his accusers are lying. I just do not know. I do know that his opponent promotes abortion. So, I too am in a squeeze. I will vote so I will have to make a decision. The difference is that my decision will be private. The church for which I preach will not be sullied by my endorsement of anyone. Sunday morning, I will preach Jesus.

I hope my colleagues will stop getting all hot and bothered about the people who run for office. If we preach the word only, we will be good servants of our master. I call on fellow preachers to simply “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2) and let others play politics.

An old preacher once observed that being involved in politics is like reaching into an old stovepipe while wearing a white, long-sleeved shirt. No matter how careful you are, the shirt is going to get dirty.

Expectations of President Trump

President Trump White HouseMuch ink (and electrons) has already been spilled discussing our new President. I don’t intend to re-plow those fields. He is your President and that is all there is to be said. I do want to talk about our expectations, especially the expectations of our conservative readers. It worries me that we have set the bar so high that only disappointment can follow. We expect too much from an election. Some have clearly taken a break from sound Biblical reasoning to vacation among the rejoicing voices. Let me explain.

President Trump Is Not Our Savior.

Donald Trump is a moral failure. To be sure, he may not be as bad as the other choice but there is no way that his behavior can be excused. Especially his claim that he does not forgiveness and therefore as never asked God to forgive him. We could add many other failings to that but John Piper has already done a fine job in an article he calls How to Live Under an Unqualified President and I’ll not duplicate his work further.

It is possible that the Trump administration will do much for our nation but he is not our savior. Jesus alone is. We all know that but it seems our enthusiasm gets the best of us. You can sure support him but not think he will solve all of your problems.

The United States Is Not Our Hope

Many of us have been troubled by the direction of our country. Unending wars, legalized sexual immorality. abortion, and a system that rewards the lazy have given plenty of angst. We desperately desire a better place to live. But our hope must not be based on our flag. Our hope is in the Lord. I suspect most of the things listed above will continue regardless of who is in office. If we center our hope on the flag we will surely be disappointed.

The sweet opening line of the old hymn says “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” The psalmist says, I will hope in your word” (Psalm 119:81). Paul reminds that in Christ “we have set our hope” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Peter says we have been “born again to a a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). No where do the Scriptures tell us to place our hope in our nation.

Jesus Christ is our Hope and Our Savior

We can expect that the Lord will always be true to his covenant promises. He has an unbroken track record of truth. His word is truth (John 17:17). Unlike the President, he has no moral failings. Unlike our nation he can deliver redemption that leads to salvation. His work is not temporary but lasts forever. The Christian needs no inferior view of redemption nor failed expectations. Let us keep our vision focused on Christ.

One wonders why we talk so much about politics and so little about faith. Why do we pray for soldiers and not for Christians who suffer horribly for believing that Jesus is the Son of God? I recently heard a prayer in worship in which the brother prayed and prayed for our leaders and soldiers. Then, as a 15 second afterthought, he prayed for the church. It is not that ought ignore our country or our leaders, indeed the Bible teaches us to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-4). I just suggest we reconsider our own expectations and priorities. Our kingdom is the kingdom of heaven!

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your thinking. Please leave a comment.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.

5 Ways to Avoid Toxic Politics

Trump_&_ClintonThe American political environment is toxic. The conduct of candidates is, as usual, abysmal. The political air is so putrid that many Christians are stepping back and refusing to vote for any candidate. For them, the idea of selecting the best of the worst is too distasteful to contemplate. Others are caught up in the polarization and are distancing themselves from other brethren who disagree with their choices. Some fight more with other brethren than they do with the unrighteous. We ought to stop and see what politics are doing to the church.

The Corruption of Government

Like the home and the church, God gave government to man. After the flood of Noah, God established a civil penalty for murder. God knew that in the coming ages man would continue to be corrupt and would require a system of order (Genesis 9:5, 6). Jehovah would establish both a spiritual and a civil government among the Hebrews. He regulated not only sacrifices and worship but also the disposal of dead bodies, the control of disease and the establishment of property lines and boundaries. By the middle of the 1st century, Paul would write, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1).

Ironically, like both the modern home and many churches, government has become corrupted and even turned its powers against its Creator. In most places today, government is at least benignly apathetic toward matters of faith and in some places government is overtly hostile to Christians. Beyond that, government has assumed roles of both family and church. Public schools attempt to teach character without morality. The state has taken over the role of teaching children and compel education according to the government’s standards. Meanwhile, the elderly are cared for by the cold hand of government instead of the warm hearts of family.

The very organs of state have turned against God.

Festering Purulence Oozing into the Church

The growing corruption of government impacts the church. Some politicians, together with willing churchmen, have allowed political rhetoric to wedge its way into the fellowship of God’s people. In 1979, the previously unheard of Jerry Falwell launched the Moral Majority, a political action committee supported by evangelical Christians. Millions of dollars were raised to support political causes. The organization was merged into the Liberty Foundation near the end of the 1980’s.

While the goals of Moral Majority are laudable, it may have been responsible for a shifting of political discussion into the church. In some cases, preachers sermonized for and against candidates. In some places, Ronald Reagan was mentioned more than Jesus Christ.

Today, brethren disagree with vitriol about political issues. The misguided role of government has now entered the church and churches are becoming misguided political battlegrounds.

The Cure is Salt

The next time you buy a stick of butter you’ll notice that salted butter comes in a wax paper wrapper. Unsalted butter in a foil wrapper. Salt helps prevent bacteria from forming. If there is no salt, a foil wrapper keeps the butter pure.

Like butter, government can be purified by salt. Not NaCl+ but people salt; the kind of salt Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Matthew 5:12

In the days of the apostles, Christians had little influence over government. Today, Christians have much more influence. We have the right to vote for our leaders, to petition them and to speak freely on issues of national and local polity. We have the right to be salt. We have opportunities our ancient brethren could only dream of.

The irony is that the very process that is dividing brethren is the same process that Christians must be involved in.

Here is the hard part: Christians in politics must first be and act like Christians! We cannot influence for good if we surrender the high ground and submerge ourselves in the usual hateful rhetoric that so often marks political campaigns. Here are 5 suggestions:

  1. Focus on issues, not people. No man is truly fit for office. He is corrupted, jaded and biased over many things. Speak to the issues at hand. I am personally convinced that every candidate has the same failings as every other candidate. The difference lies only in degrees.
  2. Use extreme caution when using non-personal means like Facebook. Facebook, Twitter and similar venues provide a quick way to comment. Remember that others who read who read your comments may not know you. A good rule of thumb is to assume that your post will be misconstrued in the worse possible way. Post accordingly.
  3. Understand precisely what is being said in a discussion. The finest conversationalists are those who hear and understand what is being said to them. They question for better understanding before speaking their opinion. Often, we speak past one another and no communication occurs.
  4. Fully engage your mental faculties before uttering a word. Remember Solomon’s advice, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). It is not enough to listen. One must strive to understand.
  5. Walk Away. As Shakespeare caused Falstaff to say, “the better part of valor is discretion.” In other words, there is a time to be quiet. Some people cannot be reasoned with. Their biases, prejudices or even their limited intellect make discussion all but impossible. You’ll accomplish nothing but a headache.

All of the above depends on being informed by your faith in Jesus Christ. Christians inject Jesus’ teachings into the surrounding culture. Government is his, let us use his church as a counterpoint to its ugly downfall.

Undoubtedly, you will disagree with other brethren. Ensure that such disagreement never arises to conflict in worship. When we assemble, we do so to worship God, not the flag. Preachers must use their precious minutes in the pulpit to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified; they must not pontificate on political party platforms. To do so takes away from the gospel.

Preachers must teach the whole counsel of God and that does include issues which are politicized. Abortion, gay, lesbian and transgender issues. We must speak on the poor and poverty. We must seek peace where possible. These issues, and there are more, cut sharply across the political spectrum. Speak to the issues, teach your listeners and encourage their work in the culture. But whatever you do, do not allow the politics of the day to divide the brethren!

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.


Church and Government

3D_Judges_Gavel (1)It’s time to talk about the church and government. It seems we are confusing the two. As a result, many Christians are wringing their hands over a federal judge who decided to mandate same-sex marriage in Alabama. There are some facts we should keep in mind.

The Church and Government Are Not the Same

While both are from God and even though Christians are subject to both, the church and government are not identical. Each has responsibilities which complement each other but are unique. For example, government has no responsibility for evangelism and the church has no responsibility for policing citizens.

Neither Sin nor Righteousness Can Be Legislated.

One of our greatest failures is the idea that we can make people holy through legislation. We cannot. [bctt tweet=”We might be able to make people conform, but we cannot save them through the legislative process.”] We have argued elsewhere that morality must be based in God. We may extend that to argue that such God-based morality is the foundation of many of laws in the past.

Today, government is populated by throngs of godless men and women who no longer stand on Biblical morality. To them, there is no moral anchor for their actions. The single determining factor is personal desire. Whatever most people want is what they will get. The danger of this populist approach to right and wrong is that anything becomes legally possible.

It is the populist approach that gave us abortion on demand and now homosexual marriage. One can only speculate at what future wickedness will be condoned and even supported by our government. We should not be surprised that evil is slowly consuming both our culture and government.

Christians must be the Conscience of Culture

What then is the role of the Christian in our country? Christians desire that all live righteously. That is the will of Christ and is appropriately the will of his followers. Jesus said that his followers should be both salt and light (Matthew 5:14-16). Jesus did not say that his people were to be politicians. It may be that Christians can affect the world through political activism and participation, but they must never confuse their Christianity with their politics.

Philip Yancey, in Vanishing Grace wrote, “The church works best as a separate force, a conscience to society that keeps itself at arm’s length from the state.” I think he has a fine point. Our task is not to run the state but to prod the state into Godly conduct. Sometimes our saltiness is successful. Sometimes our light is seen. Sadly, it doesn’t always work that way.

Our true battle is not in the smoke-filled back rooms of government. Our battle is in the hearts and minds of individuals.

Christians Live and Thrive Despite Government

I wonder if we think we are saved by government. Do we think the church needs government? The church does not need government. Every time the church gets close with the state the church loses. The one time the church actually merged with government we ended up with the Crusades.

But consider the original Christians. The church began with opposition from both the Jewish and Roman governments. Jesus, as Lord of the church and its founder, was crucified by the Romans at the insistence of the Jews. The Jewish persecution of the church began immediately with, at a minimum, the permission of Rome. Later, as Christianity spread far beyond Judea and Galilee, Rome took up the persecution under such infamous leaders as Nero and Domitian.

It was in the pressure cooker of governmental assault that Christianity grew rapidly.[bctt tweet=”It was in the pressure cooker of governmental assault that Christianity grew rapidly.”] It was also in this environment that Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1). Earlier, Jesus noted the separation between the church and government when he answered his critics by saying, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). The Christian walks two paths, that of the heavenly way and that of state citizen. For almost all Americans, these current rulings approving sinful acts have no direct impact on how they live or worship. It may anger us, sadden us, disappoint us or sicken us, but these laws do not require us to sin or violate our faith.

But It’s an Abomination!

True enough, homosexuality is an abomination. The Bible is clear in Leviticus 18:22; 20:13. But other sins are also abominations, i.e. dishonesty in business (Leviticus 25:16), idolatry (Deuteronomy 27:15, 32:16), a devious person (Proverbs 3:32), haughtiness, a lying tongue, shedding innocent blood, devising wicked plans, those that practice evil generally, a false witness and one who causes discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).

There are many sins that are not illegal. In fact, among the 10 Commandments, only two are actually illegal (killing and stealing). The point is simple: any sin offends God and is an abomination to him. But government is not the church and has never made most sins illegal. In our country today it is perfectly legal to engage in adultery or fornication. It is allowed to lie or shade the truth. It is legal to covet anything and everything your neighbor has. One may worship idols and even offer animal sacrifices to those idols and not be guilty of a crime.

Brethren, we live in a broken, corrupt world where Satan, our adversary, rules (1 John 5:19, Ephesians 2:2).

It Will Get Worse

It is not a happy thought, but our world will continue to grow darker (2 Timothy 3:2, 13). Most will be lost (Matthew 7:13, 14).

In my lifetime, these teachings have been proving again and again. Abortion on demand takes millions of innocent lives annually, fornication and adultery are commonplace. Honesty is almost unheard of, homosexuality is accepted and glorified, morality has fled from the public square. I do not like where our world has gone, yet I live here and will glorify God as long as I can.

Being Salty

Jesus told us to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). But where do we sprinkle that salt? If I buy a hamburger and fries I might sprinkle salt on the fries but not in my Mountain Dew. Likewise, let us sprinkle our salt where it is most needed and most effective.

You are most effective when touching the hearts of someone you know. A one-on-one relationship makes all the difference. Writing letters to Congressmen and Senators is easy and requires no investment, but impacting the life of a living being person you know is hard.[bctt tweet=”You are most effective when touching the hearts of someone you know”]

If tomorrow we awoke to find that Congress had passed, and the President had signed, a bill to make all sin illegal, would it change anything? Would sin decrease? Would all 320 million Americans suddenly be saved? No!

Reforming government is a distraction. You cannot bring America to Christ. You bring individuals to Christ. You bring your spouse, your children, your brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, co-workers, neighbors and fellow students to Christ. We are not saved as a nation but as individual souls in need of a savior.

When I look at Jesus and his apostles I never once see them arguing for some candidate or petitioning for a law to end some sin. But I do see Jesus interacting with a Sanhedrin leader (John 3:1ff). I see Paul one-on-one with a Centurion (Acts 10:1ff), a Roman proconsul (Acts 13:12) and I see him before a King (Acts 26:1). The gospel is shared with individuals, not governments.

I, like you, am saddened when I see those who glorify sin win any battle. But I know that my task is to evangelize, not to govern. My Lord is enthroned in glory (Acts 7:55; Revelation 1:12-16) and is victorious. Do not be discouraged by battles lost in Satan’s world. Know that there is ultimate victory in Christ!

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



Politics, Preachers and the Pulpit

A_coloured_voting_boxOnce again some preachers are knowingly and openly breaking IRS regulations by endorsing specific candidates for political office. These preachers are wrong and should be removed from their pulpits and subjected to the appropriate penalties.

Religious bodies may choose to accept IRS rules and thus avoid paying taxes on  their contributions. They could choose to decline the tax exempt provisions and preach anything they want but instead these people are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

By law, a preacher may preach on any topic he so chooses. He can preach against abortion, against gambling, against various social issues and even against unbiblical  topics like the flat tax, fair tax or any number of arcane points of law. What the tax exempt provisions prohibit is campaigning for or against a specific candidate. The preachers and their churches agreed to the provisions they now seek to violate.

It is also the case that a preacher can personally campaign for anyone he chooses as long as he is not speaking for the church or using his position with the church to promote the candidate. There simply are no substantive restrictions on preachers. It is a contrived issue by some who may be more interested in politics than in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. The upshot is that these rogue preachers are bringing the rest of us into unneeded criticisms.

Here’s a thought: Should we spend precious pulpit time talking about a man other than Jesus? I didn’t think so. Preach the word!

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

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 bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Is SCOTUS the Last Word?

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) yesterday issued stunning rulings which have given an imprimatur of rightness to homosexual marriages. Inherent in their ruling is approval of sinful behavior and a requirement that righteous God-fearing people must support that behavior through the use of their tax dollars. This really nothing new. Government has really never been fully supportive of faith but instead has tolerated religion because of its widespread presence in society. In years past, government has approved of a variety of sins from alcohol, to gambling, to abortion. The rulings yesterday should not be a surprise.

So what’s a Christian to do? First, God’s word has not changed. Despite the court’s rulings, God remains true (Romans 3:4) and his word remains the standard for our lives. One could make the argument that the Supreme Court is the single most powerful force in American law and politics. However they are wholly insignificant before Jehovah. Homosexual conduct is a sin. That is so obvious that we need not speak further. Sin is an offense to the Creator. The court cannot change that.

Second, government is important to us at it allows us to lead peaceable lives (Romans 13:1-7) but it is irrelevant for our salvation. Salvation comes from Jesus Christ, not from the justices.

The original Christians worshiped, served and evangelized under the oppression of pagan Roman Emperors. It was during this time that the church grew exponentially. Even if our government is in opposition to our values we still serve a risen Lord. Christianity Today said it this way:

 Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is calling the cosmos toward his kingdom, and he will ultimately be Lord indeed. Regardless of what happens with marriage, the gospel doesn’t need “family values” to flourish. In fact, it often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it. That’s why the gospel rocketed out of the first-century from places such as Ephesus and Philippi and Corinth and Rome, which were hardly Mayberry.

Let us not be discouraged. Nothing has changed. Let us be the true and unwavering counterpoint to a corrupt world where good is called evil and evil is called good.

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