Thursday, October 19, 2017

How to Fix America

How to Fix America

The media, overpaid Hollywood and sports personalities, along with political operatives have dominated the discussion and dialogue concerning patriotism for far too long.  I cannot identify with NFL players who are having a difficult time determining what it means to stand tall, hand over heart facing the flag during the national anthem. Or maybe I can since most of them that have made it to that level are there because they have been pampered and revered simply for playing a game.

Personally, I can attest to the fact that the flag and the national anthem do mean something to those of us who have served this country.  I come from a military family who served this country from unpopular wars in Vietnam (dad—Bronze Star) to Iraq (Marine son) and the Cold War (me and my two brothers).  None of us was drafted and we all knew what we signed up for. We also realized that we could have been called upon to give the ultimate sacrifice but thankfully we and our families were spared.  Millions of others who have served this country were not spared the heartache and pain from loss of life and loss of limb. It is time to hold people accountable for their careless words and actions:

1. NFL players need to stand up for our military who many times sacrifice beyond what any of them could ever comprehend.  This is not to say that this country is perfect and that there are not many forms of bigotry and racism, certainly there are. Yet, the Richard Bertrand Spencer’s of the world make up an infinitesimally small minority of “white” people.  Only a racist would lump people outside that group with that group.  This country reveres people like Martin Luther King, but thinks a southerner should be shunned if he thinks Robert E. Lee was a great man. BTW—Spencer was named after the atheist Bertrand Russell.  

2. Political personalities like a Congressman Frederica Wilson need to apologize for how they’ve disgraced an honored institution like the Marine Corps.  She was not elected to participate in our constitutional form of governmental to score political points at the expense of every military person who has served and especially those who have given their lives serving this country.  She did what politicians do today by spinning the narrative to score points with those who want to use any means including desecrating sacred honored traditions.  This is reprehensible behavior and cannot be ignored!

3. Hollywood personalities and the media allow people like Harvey Weinstein to perpetrate his abuse of women for decades.  He gave millions in hush money to mainstream political figures, yet the pampered Hollywood personalities don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do what is right.  Hollywood stars placed their personal fame and financial gain on the perverted altar of Harvey Weinstein.  These same Hollywood superstars with armed security guards and homes surrounded by walls produce all of the violent programming while being the most vocal outspoken critics of second amendment rights. It was not so sickening, it would be laughable.

4. The news media plastered Steven Paddock’s face on television screens across America for weeks and then pontificate why we continue to have these types of acts perpetrated upon the citizenry of America.  They all claim it’s the guns! I daresay that every nut job with a screw loose that wants to find a way to commit suicide in a blaze of glory has seen how to become a famous by surpassing Paddock’s reprehensible crime in Las Vegas.

Do you want to know how to fix America?  End the divisive rhetoric, demand an immigration policy that requires assimilation into our country, and find ways to identify and fix our broken system.  Furthermore quit expecting the government to be the solution when our Republic was never founded with that type of philosophy. Look at Houston for an example of how Americans can band together when times of crisis arise and then watch the constant coverage of Puerto Rico to see what happens when the media wants to spin a terrible situation to further divide this country.  

John Adams said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." This wise philosophy did not originate with John Adams but with the Bible as the book of Proverbs pronounces: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).  The problems in this country have only worsened since we threw God and the Bible out of the public school system.  Unfortunately, things will only continue to disintegrate as the religion of godlessness and a God-free society are perpetrated upon America.

Doug Stauffer (
October 19, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Patriotism Versus Police-Pig Socks

The current debate in the NFL highlights the revisionist rhetoric from the left and puts their hypocrisy on full display. Colin Kaepernick started the NFL Take-a-Knee protests by purposefully disrespecting those who carry a badge (that’s him wearing the POLICE ARE PIGS socks). In Kaepernick’s own words, he said he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag…” His freedom-of-expression protest was directed against the flag and against the United States of America. Fortunately for all of us, no one gets to decide what the flag of the United States or our National Anthem represent.  Those claiming that their first amendment rights allow them to redefine the purposes for the flag and the anthem are the same ones that do not offer the same latitude to a southerner concerning his Confederate flag.
The protesters: whether kneeling, sitting, or squatting, were all started by a man who wore PIG POLICE SOCKS. This expression clearly reflects this man’s utter disdain for the police.  His own words reveal why he knelt at the playing of the national anthem.  Yet, these facts are being rewritten or ignored by the pundits who want to spin this story into something that it is not.  These protests are about disrespecting the flag! Fortunately, the internet and social media platforms mean that the pundits can no longer dominate the dialog, control the discourse and freely force their spin upon all others.
In addition, those standing up for those taking a knee seem to think that the kneelers are the only ones with a FIRST AMENDMENT right to voice their concerns. When “the other side” voices our concerns contrary to the PC police; our voices are quickly pronounced as anti-first amendment.  Unfortunately, this is true of every important issue facing true Americans. If you are on the wrong side of political correctness, then your voice does not deserve the same right to be heard. 

For instance, the confederate flag represents one thing to the left and one thing only and that is racism. All of America must accept this stigmatism placed upon that flag (and any confederate statues) because the PC police have determined that that’s what the flag and the statues represent for all of America. In the case of the American flag, patriotic Americans are told to hush because now the American flag represents black oppression. The left want to silence us when we claim that the flag and the anthem represent patriotism and respect for those who served and sacrificed for this country.  These NFL protests started out as a way of disrespecting those who carry a badge, yet these same protestors cannot be disassociated with the disrespect that has been shown toward those who serve in the military.

The bottom line is that racism in all of its ugly forms does not justify disrespecting those who proudly wear a uniform to fight, defend, and protect the rights of overpaid sports celebrities to squat on Sundays. Since the media, sports personalities and Hollywood are influenced most by leftist liberals with the loudest voices they simply want to squash all dissenting voices. We will not be silenced so long as we continue to breathe!

These same pundits tell us that those in the south who are proud of their heritage and cherish their rebel flag do so simply because they are racists.  Yet, I know for a fact that many southerners believe that that flag of the south represents much more, things like States’ Rights against any type of a tyrannical federal government. Yet, these thoughts are unacceptable to the PC police because they fall outside of the talking points and their agendas.  

Racism no doubt exists and probably will always exist so long as people focus upon color rather than character.  Yet, when sports personalities decide to disrespect our symbols of patriotism (the flag and the anthem) and do so using the race card then the flames of racism will continue to be stoked by the very ones who seem to promote it most. The choice seems simple to me:  pig socks or patriotism? I will always honor our flag, our anthem and the brave men and women who serve even when those with money choose to disgrace our country.  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Time to End the National Anthem

Granted, this nation has a short attention span and an even shorter memory, but it is time to focus and remember.

I have really struggled about whether to write this opinion but standing on the sidelines is no longer a viable option. I come from a military family (my dad, my brothers, my son, and I) all served honorably—from Viet Nam, to posts foreign and domestic, to Iraq. I also served in the Air Force Honor Guard and currently serve as a chaplain to the military. While some NFL players feel compelled to kneel together to make a statement, I feel compelled to STAND for those who can no longer STAND whether because of loss of life or loss of limb. I choose to stand for the children, the parents and the spouses who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

I have always been proud to be an American but not too proud of what I see happening to America. This country desperately needs to be united but this usually only happens during times of war or a nationwide calamity. It has long been proclaimed that the United States of America will never be defeated by any invading military power. Likely, it will shamefully disintegrate from internal strife. It matters not who instigates the uproar whether communists, terrorists, leftists or the far-right. Unfortunately, the media seems to be simply stoking the self-destructive flames.

Why do true Americans pledge allegiance to a flag? The answer is really quite simple. The flag represents our united country of fifty states, in good times and in bad! Unfortunately, it seems like we may soon find fear for terrorism is overcome by a fear for anarchy, strife and social unrest from within. 

A Little History First

The National Anthem became a tradition in sporting events to focus people’s attention upon those who had served to insure the freedoms we so richly enjoy. It started with baseball amongst those steeped in wartime patriotism. In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional resolution making the Star-Spangled Banner our National Anthem. The National Anthem and Old Glory are near and dear to those of us that have served along with those impacted by war and those conscious of the security that a strong military affords. Saluting the flag during the National Anthem is much more than a simple tradition to those who have served and sacrificed.

The Stars and Stripes and the National Anthem are patriotic symbols. Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner two years after he witnessed a bloody battle between American and British troops in the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. He wrote this poetic song as he saw the troops defend Fort McHenry in a day long battle. The garrison flag that was raised over that blood-drenched fort is housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Those with graying heads remember that not too long ago, some in this country chose to spit upon and curse those returning from battle (Vietnam). For many decades these heroes were forgotten by the country they served, nevertheless most of them continued to love this country and show respect for it. My father is one of those men.

A lot has changed since 9/11 when America was attacked from without and stared into an uncertain future. On 9/11 things appeared to have suddenly spiraled out of control and the American people placed their hopes square upon the military. Americans—white, black, yellow, red, and brown—realized that we simply wanted a fix “over there” to stop any future attacks upon American soil. I saw and witnessed the transformation of America where every Vet and service member was now honored and truly appreciated. As a Vet, I appreciated the newfound and long overdue respect for the military, but still shuddered a bit when my son went to Iraq with the Marines.

A Nation of Diversity

This country is made up of good and bad people who do good and bad things to people of their own race as well as other races. A white man who shoots a person of color or a person of color who shoots a white man does not define a race of people. Yet, Colin Kaepernick, who began the NFL protests said this:  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” If the vast majority of non-black American citizens do not oppress blacks and other people of color, his statement comes across as simply a racist statement.

The supposed attention upon racial inequality and police brutality has brought most of the attention upon those who make millions through sport. Regardless of anyone’s intention, the result has been to show disrespect for our country and those who have served and died to defend it.  Loving this country (despite its many faults) is what it means to be an American and a true Patriot. Those who refuse to show pride in the Stars and Stripes should travel with me to some of the countries I have visited to see true oppression, poverty and despair. Most players and coaches would never dream of showing the same kind of attitude toward an opposing team before the game.

I’ve played sports all my life and love the distraction of watching a good college football game. There have always been good and bad examples. I was impressed by Deshaun Watson who saw people hurting in Texas and gave his first game check to three Texan employees who had lost cars or houses in the hurricane. If athletes are against black oppression they should get back on their feet and go to areas where the oppression is greatest (like inner city Chicago) and do something to directly impact those who are being oppressed the most. Instead, they kneel during an inappropriate time in the safety of an area where everyone has been thoroughly searched to insure their personal safety and security.

An Improper Balance

If all of this is about free speech and the First Amendment (which it is not) then why did the NFL threaten to fine players who wanted to remember those who died on 9/11? Yet, a player can wear “pig socks” because an anti-police movement is acceptable in the NFL? NFL players can show disrespect for those who wear a badge when the vast majority of the police are good decent hardworking men and women who serve to protect others. One of the key players stoking the flames reportedly lied about being singled out by the police in Las Vegas! Oh yes, my dad, in addition to being retired military, served for ten years as Captain of a police force!

Why can’t the NFL stop the sitters and squatters, but can refuse the Dallas Cowboys’ request to honor the slain police officers with a simple helmet decal? The real problem is political correctness and liberal agendas uniting to bring this country to its knees through racial strife, division, and hatred. Alejandro Villanueva, an offensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers, standing alone during the Anthem and later apologizing is a great example. Why would a decorated Army Ranger who fought for this country feel compelled to apologize for standing rather than kneeling or skipping the anthem? Because it is not about the First Amendment or racial equality—it is about silencing all those who would disagree with this destructive political agenda.

Much work always needs to be done concerning social justice and it always will. We actually appreciate the peaceful civil disobedience but those protesting do not recognize that they are treading upon the sanctity of those who have given their all so that the protestors can have a voice in a free society. If it is not acceptable to spit in the face or upon the graves of those who have served, then it is also inconsiderate to refuse to honor those who have served by sitting, kneeling, or skipping out during the National Anthem. No stadium is big enough to justify disrespecting the flag which is representative of our country.

If Tim Tebow took a knee during the National Anthem, the left would have been in an uproar and people like me would have expressed our disdain too. Instead, he chose to acknowledge God when he felt particularly blessed. His critics chose to ridicule him because it made people feel uncomfortable to see such an open display of reverence toward God. I understand the ridicule from those whose bearings have become stripped, but Mr. Tebow also started charitable foundations and traveled throughout this land and abroad in support of those particular beliefs. In other words, his display on the field was simply an extension of himself and in no way done to garner personal attention or financial benefit.

Greatest Country on Earth

Do you know why people flee other countries to come to America? Because America is perfect? No, because we are the best country in the world even when we are being divided by those who have no respect for the fallen, the wounded warriors, those currently serving, or veterans. These players have the right to take a knee to make a statement, yet many of them do not think that those of us voicing our thoughts should be afforded equal opportunity. We are deemed uncaring or worse yet, racially insensitive.

Whitney Houston’s rendition of the National Anthem was a top-20 hit twice; once during the Persian Gulf War and then after 9/11. After 9/11 we had police officers and firefighters singing the National Anthem. Christina Aguilera and Roseanne Barr can attest to the national reaction when the anthem is disrespected—why should we give NFL players a pass?  Francis Scott Key wrote, “Our flag was still there” Now, it is being desecrated by those who have some of the best opportunities of what this country offers no matter the race. According to Forbes and the U.S. Army the average NFL salary is $2.1 million while the average Army sergeant salary is $32,029. Why the disparity? Because some have chosen to sacrifice while others are blessed to play for a living while being protected by those who put their lives on the line every day.

End the Anthem

Now we are hearing that it may be time to end this once honored tradition of singing the National Anthem and honoring our service members at sporting events. Those of us that have served would rather see this hallowed tradition end than to witness the disrespectful display by those who think their cause is more important than the ones who have truly sacrificed to give them the right to disrespect.  The fields are not equal: one plays for money and the other fights and defends His country.

I do not think a boycott is best since it will disproportionately impact blacks who make up a majority of those playing in the NFL.  Racism in all of its many forms is despicable! But so is this blatant anti-Americanism! When NFL players in London kneel for the U.S. National Anthem but stand for the British one—“God Save the Queen,” they are a national disgrace!

At the end of the day, the greatest impact of this act has been to further divide this great country between those who understand what that flag and the Anthem represent versus those who desecrate both with dishonorable actions. While we are at it, why not remove the flag pole from the stadium and let the fans decide whether they can support such an un-American institution? Patriotism is infectious but so is disloyalty to a country.

With the Anthem and the flag gone, why continue the hundreds of military flyovers? It should be noted where the Anthem and the flag are not welcome, neither are those who serve.  Just remember this: when we end the Anthem and strip the flag poles, those who wish to divide this country will probably have the means to destroy it too. However, this pendulum could quickly swing in the other direction but no patriotic American wants what it will take for sports celebrities to again stand tall with their right hands once again upon their hearts in unity. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Knoxville City Council Votes to Remove Church/Beer Buffer Zone

An Open Letter to the Knoxville City Council

The picture above was included in a blog by a Knoxville area megachurch pastor in support of the change to the city of Knoxville beer ordinance. He said some of the churches he represented might have a gathering that would include tapping a keg of beer.  Unbelievable! 

(L to R) George C. Wallace (414-7102), Mark Campen (414-5593), Daniel T. Brown (637-7553), Brenda Palmer (951-1546), Duane Grieve (522-4393), Nick Pavlis (851-6671), Marshall Stair (771-9215) , Nick Della Volpe (525-2880), Finbarr Saunders (604-2536).

Those City Council names in
Red need calls from every constituent; the two highlighted are the most vocally NEGATIVE and probably will NOT switch their votes. The other four names underlined in red are our best chances to defeat this measure. (Note: Praise the Lord for Brown, Pavlis, Della Volpe who have consistently voted on the side of churches against removing the protective barrier.)

In addition to phone calls, send a letter to these email addresses (copy and paste the addresses):;;;;;;;;


Most conservative Knoxville churches are completely unaware that the Knoxville City Council is voting next Tuesday (November 22, 2016) to remove the 55-year old, 300-foot protective barrier around churches. This beer ordinance banned establishments from getting beer permits for on-site consumption. 

Since 1962 churches, schools, day cares, hospitals and funeral homes have been protected by this 300-foot sanctuary, but the Knoxville City Council at the 10/25/16 meeting voted (6-3) to remove this protection FOR CHURCHES. At the last City Council meeting (11/8/16) the City Council agreed to postpone the vote that will remove this protection FROM CHURCHES until the 11/22/16 meeting. That's only a one week left and we need action now!

The two most vocal city council members (Brenda Palmer and Finbarr Saunders) said at the meeting that this provision must not be that important to churches since they have only heard from a few people. In response to their incorrect conclusions, churches need to mobilize to show that we will stand against government easing of the protections against the proliferation of alcohol.

Churches Call to Action 

We need everyone's prayers, vocal support and even attendance at the November 22, 2016 Knoxville City Council meeting.
  •  Can we count on you for prayer?
  •  Can we add your church to our list of churches against changing this ordinance? How many people can we list as represented by your church?
Because we do not have much time, we need an email address to send the talking points. To whom can we email the information within the church?
  • Will you ask your church members to make some calls to the city council members? Their numbers are listed above with the four members targeted as our best hope of stopping this change.
  • Will you consider coming down to the city/county building on Tuesday, 11/22/16 from 6PM to 7PM (main auditorium at 400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902)? It is only one hour of your time but the cause of Christ and testimony of Christians is at stake. There is free parking after 5PM and we suggest some get to the meeting early to effectively enter through security. 

Past Proof of Effectiveness

This ordinance has been enforced to protect churches in the past, including our church (Antioch Baptist Church at 5709 North Broadway). The incident in question involved a bookstore in 2005. The Lost Savant opened up at 5703B North Broadway selling beer within our church’s buffer zone. [1]

Because of this ordinance alone, this business had to stop selling beer so close to our church and chose to relocate rather than attempting to obtain the more expensive state liquor license. For that reason alone, the City Council members claiming that the current ordinance is useless and powerless are dead wrong. Granted the Knoxville City Council through its ordinance cannot stop a business from obtaining a liquor license but they can stop the much more easily accessible and cheaper beer license by leaving the amendment in force to protect churches. This ordinance serves as the first line of defense for churches. 

City Council Bogus Arguments

Some of the most vocal City Council members have raised the spurious argument that the beer ordinance does not GUARANTEE that a business selling alcohol cannot move in next to the church. This is absolutely true but deceptive! They argue that there is no true protection because of this so-called loophole of getting the much more difficult and expensive liquor license:
  • that's like saying that an establishment should not ask a youth for ID because they could simply go down the street and find some other establishment to sell them alcohol without checking proof of age. 
  • or someone convicted of Drunk Driving should not have their license revoked because they might drive drunk without a revoked license. 
  • or maybe parents should not restrict their child's access to the internet or television because they can simply go to a friend's house with less restrictions. 
The beer ordinance acts as an imperfect defense and the first line of defense. It may not stop every single alcohol-selling establishment from locating next to a church, but it surely acts as a deterrent. It performs as it was designed to function. Those not wanting to go through the difficult and expensive process of getting a liquor license might find it easier, cheaper and less of a headache to simply locate outside the church's buffer zone. 

It is important to note that churches frequently house Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, day cares, homeschoolers, sports programs, youth ministries, along with Alcohol Anonymous Programs that meet on most any day of the week and not just Sundays and Wednesdays. This small protective barrier guards churches by making things a bit more difficult to obtain any type of alcoholic beverage permit for on-site consumption. 

False Arguments

Aaron McClaine who was too close to a church to get a beer permit admitted that this ordinance created “months of delay, mountains of paperwork and thousands of extra dollars” so no one can claim that it has been ineffective in slowing and sometimes eliminating the encroachment upon churches. The beer license costs about $300 with a $100 annual privilege tax. The alcohol license can cost up to $5,000 and involves a much more stringent process.

McClaine said in his brewery there is a different culture that is “peaceful with no rabblerousing,” but the fact that this point must be made reveals that he knows that this is frequently not the case with establishments that serve intoxicating beverages to their patrons. For him going to the state for a more expensive license has been the cost of trying to locate near a school, daycare, church, hospital or funeral home for 55 years.

Rodney Arnold (One Life Church) who supported changing the amendment said if this ordinance protected churches in some way, he might have a different outlook. Yet, it is a fact that the current beer ordinance and restrictions does and has protected neighborhood churches in the inner city for 55 years. Our church is but one example!

Three Things We are NOT: 

  1.  We are not trying to legislate morality, but this is what I read from the Bible and why I am a so-called teetotaler:

    Proverbs 20:1
     Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
  1. We are not trying to shut down all the bars and restaurants serving liquor. In fact, we are not trying to shut down any of them.
  2. We are not asking for any double standard and consider any such action deplorable and unchristian. We will never request an exception to the ordinance and do not understand upon what authority these exceptions are being granted to churches if the exceptions are contrary to the written ordinance. 

    Are the four churches breaking the law or are they getting the permits for beer outside of the statutory legal distance requirements? Either way, according to scripture, a church that sells or distributes any kind of alcohol seems to cease being a Christian church and becomes more like a business. Again, the Bible is the absolute and final authority and standard for Christians and it gives this explicit admonition to those unscriptural churches:

Habakkuk 2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also…

Two Things We Are Asking: 

1.   We are asking the City Council to vote "no" against this change in ordinance (Chap 4, article 2, Division 2, Section 4-66(a) that served as a sanctuary for long established churches from alcohol encroachment in Knoxville since 1962 (not since prohibition). It may not eliminate all encroachment upon churches but it performs its intended purpose of being the first line of defense.
2.   We are asking you to allow us to send our children on our church playground with the assurance that you are not making it easier or more likely that an inebriated person will be walking across the property or worse yet driving across it. 

Why was this ordinance passed and why has it stood the test of time for almost 55 years? I believe there are three primary reasons:
  1. Governmental institutions historically displayed the utmost respect for religious institutions. 
  2. Common sense—alcohol and those most vulnerable do not mix. 
  3. A concept of better safe than sorry

All we are asking for is a little respect, some common sense and offering safety to our children as a first priority. I know this election cycle has been one that has displayed little respect (with no civility) for others. Ask yourself these two questions: 

·       Do you want to send that same message to our children that they again don’t matter?
·       Do you want to send a message to our long established churches that they no longer matter?

Protect the Endangered Species and Our Precious Ones too (our children)

Consider this: If a storefront church’s rent increases, they can simply relocate. The same is true if they don’t like their neighbors; they could simply relocate. Since the early 1970s, my church has resided just off North Broadway in a commercial area surrounded by businesses. We just finished a $600,000 renovation project which included adding an elevator to provide for our elderly and an outside playground and a basketball area for our youth. Unlike a storefront church we can’t just pull up stakes and move and we are not going anywhere. We are asking the City Council to protect our existing environment by voting down this change.

We protect our wildlife, endangered species, environment, what about our most vulnerable—the children? Don’t they deserve more protection than animals and inanimate objects? Don’t our families need a little reprieve from the onslaught taking place by a society that increasingly abuses alcohol? Those impacted are more than simply the abuser. The enablers are also responsible for the mayhem and this is not limited only to those putting the drink to their lips. We need laws to insulate our children from harm; not ones that are changed for the sake of the convenience of a few.

If one child is harmed as a result of this change was the change worth it simply for convenience sake? Society has changed but this does not mean that we need to give up on the next generation by making alcoholic beverages more pervasive.

Other Cities

Knoxville is by no means unique in this issue. Almost all of the cities in Tennessee have similar provisions concerning limiting beer sales in close proximity to churches.

In fact, all of the major cities in Tennessee and most of the surrounding cities around Knoxville have distance requirements in relation to the proximity of churches concerning the sale of beer. All four of the largest cities have distance requirements from beer sales and churches. This includes the largest four:

  1. Nashville (population 650,000) 100 foot requirement
  2.  Memphis (population 650,000) 250 foot requirement
  3.  Knoxville (population 185,000) 300 foot requirement
  4. Chattanooga (population 175,000) 200 foot (OFF premise consumption) to 500 foot (ON premise consumption) restriction
Some of the surrounding cities with distance requirements include:

Friday, June 24, 2016

To Debate or Not to Debate?

Those who know my doctrinal position were surprised to hear that I had agreed to be a participant in this "Great Rapture Debate." Here is a little background for those wondering why I "debated." 

On August 26th, 2015, my pastor and I flew to Pensacola to meet with Kent Hovind (Dr Dino) because of his new jailhouse conversion to what we believed to be an unscriptural and dangerous post-tribulation rapture position. Four times during the second day of discussions, he directly challenged me to debate and only after that final challenge did I state that I would pray about it. So I prayed!

Well, God gave me peace about accepting Bro. Hovind’s challenge and the wheels were set in motion. I called him and told him that the venue, date, time and details were set for almost a year away, if he was still agreeable. After a few more phone calls, he then backed out of his challenge to debate stating that he was not interested in traveling that much because of his grandchildren and because of his large internet following which was much more convenient.

Interestingly, several of these final phone calls took place when he was on the road for two weeks throughout the northeastern states—traveling throughout PA, OH, etc. Since the ball was already set in motion, it was decided to find a replacement and Joe Schimmel's  new DVD on his post-tribulation position was on the rise. The moderator called Joe and he anxiously agreed to participate and the next day we had a three-way conference call setting the parameters. 

Note: Since Kent Hovind and Joe Schimmel were influencing so many others, I felt it was important to defend what I believed to be the biblical position against such worthy and influential opponents. I am sure others will come out of the woodwork with challenges but most of those who do so are of dubious character and are more interested in fighting rather than publishing and defending the truths of God’s word.

The Format

Because of the format, during my pre-tribulation “presentations,” I very rarely responded to my opponent even when he addressed me directly. This public dialog from two opposing sides was not about ME or a defense of what I believe (or believed in the past) but about God’s word and God’s truths. That is where I tried to keep my focus and that of the audience. For this reason, I did not spend time quoting people that agreed with me or quoting those who disagreed with my pre-tribulation position. They too are not the issue!  

In addition, I avoided attempting to convince the audience to take sides during the debate, thus when I heard an “amen” I quickly drowned it out rather than giving the audience the opportunity to join in with a chorus of “amens” if they were so inclined. Having said that, this is my problem with most historical debates where each opponent simply attempts to WIN at any cost (much like the lying that goes on during political debates)! I will have nothing to do with such carnal atrocities. 

Are Debates God-glorying or Self-seeking?

I firmly believe in answering people’s questions and the Bible commands that we do so; however, debates have a tendency of being truth defying and resultantly unscriptural. Here is the scriptural method of presenting the truth which involves answering questions.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Peter admonishes believers to be ready to answer questions but with meekness and fear. I have never witnessed the right type of humble sprit and attitude in any public debate. The debate always degenerated into a win the audience at any cost. The key to the whole matter of expressing truths is “what saith the scripture” specifically concerning debates. The Bible offers a clear, definitive, irrefutable position concerning debating. Debate(s) is found five times in scripture; here are the four relevant passages from the Old and New Testaments.

All 22 chapters of the book of revelation in grey
Four Rules concerning debating and Bible examples of debating:

  • 1.    Direct debates look to be most appropriate when done in a private setting rather than a public forum
Proverbs 25:9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:

  • 2.    Strife and debates were two of the sins of the Jews specifically mentioned by Isaiah
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. …. 4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

  • 3.    Paul points out that debates are part of the wickedness of those with a reprobate mind
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

It is obvious that debating is pleasurable to the participants as well as to the audience. It is pleasurable to the flesh in a carnal way. People like to witness a spirited debate but all too often the truth takes a back seat to the performance of the unscriptural participants. The truth is never supposed to take second place.

  • 4.    Paul lines up debating with envying, wraths, strifes, backbiting, etc.
2 Corinthians 12:20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

Anyone calling a debate a God-glorying activity or somehow commanded of God is completely ignorant of God’s word or wants to use an unscriptural medium to make a name for himself. Take note of one of the primary purposes of those who wanted to build the Tower of Babel.

Genesis 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

These Babel-builders wanted to make a name for themselves (or have a larger viewing audience) by reaching God their own way. They certainly were not truth-lovers or truth seekers. Debates are unscriptural, ungodly and unnecessary. Debates focus on winning the audience rather than glorifying God. The name, “The Great Rapture Debate” was not chosen by me but I did not force my definition upon the naming of such an event. Would “The Great Opposing Answers Deliberation” have been as well received or understood? I think not, thus I agreed to use the terminology that today’s society would understand. If the format was instead focused upon matching wits amongst the participants, I would never have agreed to such a venue.

Furthermore, I believe my opponent, Joe Schimmel, to be a man of great integrity greatly used in the Lord’s work to especially expose Hollywood. I may vehemently disagree with him concerning his particular position on the timing of the Rapture but this is only one segment of his overall work for the Lord. He has done some great things for the glory of God and I pray that God will continue to use him. I told him as much after the debate while we were still on stage shaking hands behind the moderator.

“The Great Rapture Debate” will be available in DVD but can also be purchased to view for two more months through Prophecy in the News. I do not receive nor do I want any remuneration if you decide to purchase the Live Stream package so it is not about "making money."