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." 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Will the Church Face the Antichrist?

The Great Rapture Debate
June 17, 18, 19, 2016
Marriott Hotel, Colorado Springs, CO

Register NOW!
Will the Church leave this earth prior to, during or after Daniel's Seventieth Week? Doug Stauffer vs Joe Schimmel! Doug will defend the pre-tribulation rapture position while Joe will defend the post-tribulation rapture position. 

Don’t miss the 4th Annual Pikes Peak Prophecy Summit at the Colorado Springs Marriott, Colorado, June 17-19, 2016. For the first time in Conference History--The Great Rapture Debate! Also includes twenty of the top speakers on Bible prophecy, including many new faces!

Doug Stauffer and Joe Schimmel will partake in “The Great Rapture Debate” mediated by Douglas Woodward.

Summit Speakers - Kevin Clarkson, Bob Cornuke, Billy Crone, Bill Federer, Dan Goodwin, Paul McGuire, Don Perkins, Bill Salus, Doug Stauffer, and Doug Woodward.

New speakers
Ben Baruch, Earl Cox, Kevin McAfee, Anthony Patch, Joe Schimmel, Michael Snyder plus several more!

Registration: $90.00 (per person)

Limited aeating – Don’t wait!
Registration online NOW available!

Prophecy in the News Homepage
Or call 1-800-475-1111