Where Have All the Fanatics Gone

Written by Brad Caldwell on Sept. 22, 2015

If Christianity and truth are anything, they are fanatical. I can’t think of anything more antithetical to spiritual reality than apathy. And I have a question – where have all the fanatics gone?

Of course, I mean fanatics for truth.

God saved me when I was 16 years old, and if I saw anything, it was that God wanted me to put truth ahead of all else.

I was blessed to be able to meet with fellow Christians at high school before school began for “First Priority,” “Fellowship of Christian Students,” “Rally Around the Flag,” or other spontaneous events. I remember with great fondness singing Christian songs for the first time, and the camaraderie of young believers wanting to live for Christ in the midst of a pretty wicked public school.

In high school, I recall friends standing up in class to share their faith, someone running for school president in order to share the Gospel, and us Christians trying to witness to fellow students not infrequently.

I remember meeting around the flag pole at lunch regularly to meditate on the Bible with a few other Christians.

We believed strongly in justification by faith and eternal security. We naturally had, by God’s grace, a good degree of holiness. And there was absolutely no question that we were politically conservative. Liberalism was seen as the very devil from hell, and rightfully.

Of course in college we Christians went various different directions for further education/vocation. I found a church where I was at college that was extremely radical. I had a question mark about them since they taught conditional security, but when I asked, they said they believed in “salvation by grace through faith,” which would “naturally result in good works.” There was so much good that, after studying the Scriptures, I genuinely believed they had the truth on the subject.

Again, this was a group of radicals. They preached the Word like they meant it, sang enthusiastically, preached open-air, dressed very modestly, believed in charismatic gifts, and again, were politically conservative. The preacher was very godly and mined the Scriptures like no one else I’ve ever heard.

But problems began to arise, somehow. I doubted my salvation about two years into being there, and had a tremendous time trying to overcome that. On top of that, political liberalism and bullying started to infect the church about that time (not from the preacher, but among the group). Then Obama came to power, and things got horrible. In 2013 the pastor died, and the two people he left in charge took over.

In April of 2015, fourteen years after joining that church, I fell and broke my back. One of the leaders suggested it was God’s punishment for me commending Ted Cruz online. He asked me to say nothing good about conservatives, and nothing bad about the Democrat party. The other leader was more forceful, and told me not to come back, unless I had a thorough change-of-mind and agree to not commend any conservatives online. I could commend them “in my heart,” but not online.

Well, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. What insanity to be asked to say nothing good about conservatives!

And what is sad is that, to date, no one has stood with me on this. Either the rest of the people in the church do not know what was asked of me, or have decided to side with the insane requirement to say nothing good of conservatives (at least online!). That’s extremely sad, because all of these people once stood for conservatism, and as much as they may hate it, there are corollary things to standing for Jesus. Early Christians were persecuted for preaching through Jesus the resurrection from the dead – they were preaching a doctrine (resurrection of believers) and were persecuted for that, not just for standing for Jesus. And I’m sorry, but a conservative outlook goes hand-in-hand with believing in Jesus. When someone goes along with the requirement to say nothing good of conservatives, they are denying Jesus in my opinion. And that’s sad, because these were my closest of friends.

And so now I’m asking, “Where have all the fanatics gone?” Where are people that are on fire for Jesus, for purity, for eternal security, for conservatism? Where are fanatics for the truth? Where are the people who see value in being an “outcast” from the world, as Jesus was, in order to stand for truth? Has the entirety of sincere Christians bought the Obama mess? I’m hoping to see revival, and a restoration of people that are fanatical, not for Islam, not for Democrats, but for the true Gospel!

Can 501c3 Churches Preach on Politics

Written by Brad Caldwell on Sept. 20, 2015

Have you ever heard someone say, “We can’t preach on politics because of our 501c3 status”? Well, I’m unsettled to hear that a preacher “cannot” preach on something that, to me, is one of the most important things of our day. So I decided to do a bit of study on the subject, because if preachers can’t preach the truth, what’s the point of being a preacher?

If Preachers Cant Preach the Truth Whats the Point
If Preachers Can’t Preach the Truth, What’s the Point?

Most people have probably heard the weird term, “501c3.” In short, it’s a part of the IRS tax code that specifies that tax-exempt organizations cannot support or oppose any political candidate, and cannot surpass a “lobbying ceiling amount” which is basically 20% of their expenditures.

So the question arises:

“Can 501c3 Churches Preach on Politics?”

To my reading of the tax code, it appears that indeed they can preach on politics, but they have to stop shy of supporting or opposing any individual candidate. In other words, they can preach against how it is evil for the Democrat party to support abortion, but they can’t say it’s evil to vote for Barack Obama.

Well, I think a more fundamental question arises: “Is it possible for a preacher to be faithful to God without preaching a full-orbed, unfettered message that shuns from touching neither politics nor politicians?” And of course the answer to that is a resounding, “No!”

John the Baptist Not a Man Pleaser
John the Baptist – Not a “Man-Pleaser”!

Could John the Baptist be John the Baptist if he agreed (for a substantially greater amount of locusts and wild honey per annum!) not to point his bony finger at King Herod and reprove him for his incestuous adultery? I think not (Luke 3:7-9). Could Jesus have been Jesus if He agreed to keep the four-drachma coin from the fish’s mouth if the temple tax collectors had offered Him exemption for not speaking against the Pharisees? Never (Matthew 17:24-27)!

Many Preachers Are Denying Jesus Over the Four-Drachma Coin of 501c3 Status
Many Preachers Are Denying Jesus Over the “Four-Drachma Coin” of 501c3 Status

So how comes it that preachers are afraid, not just of commending good politicians (a near oxymoron), but of speaking in broad generalities against the evils of abortion, gay marriage, living together, or socialized medicine?

I think God has had enough. If a preacher is not willing to preach all the truth, and as Martin Luther would point out, especially that particular portion of truth which is most unpopular and most attacked at that moment, then they’re not worthy of the name, “pastor.”

“Where Did This Limitation of Free Speech Come From?”

According to Pew Research Center,

The prohibition on political campaign intervention did not become part of the Internal Revenue Code until 1954, when an amendment to section 501(c)(3) was introduced by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson during a Senate floor debate on the 1954 Internal Revenue Code. The prohibition was added to the code without hearings, testimony or comment by any tax-exempt organizations. Although there is no legislative history to indicate definitively why Johnson sought enactment of the political campaign intervention prohibition, neither is there any evidence that the prohibition was targeted at political campaign intervention by religious organizations.

I have a question. Why isn’t anyone talking about repealing this awful amendment to 501c3 so that preachers may have freedom of speech in their pulpits, while still maintaining tax-exempt status? Shouldn’t our government encourage morality by offering preachers of the Gospel tax-exempt status without twisting their arm and asking them to not prophesy at Bethel, for “it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court” (Amos 7:12-14)? Any preacher worth his salt will reply just as Amos did to this governmental attempt at manipulation of his or her message:

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but Iwas an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.

Amos Couldn't Be Bought Off by King Amaziah
Amos Couldn’t Be Bought Off by King Amaziah

What did Amos do when the government pressure threatened to squeeze him outside of God’s will? He doubled down and increased the heat of his message by delivering a terrifying prophesy to the king for his antichrist actions!

If you as a preacher think it’s too “political” to hope to change a Democrat’s amendment to an IRS rule, you’d better at least be prepared to do whatever it takes, including paying lots of taxes, in order to speak the truth. But if you compromise, and agree to dilute your message, I’m not impressed, and I don’t think the younger generation is, either. And I know that God is not impressed.

The Boring Legal Stuff – “What Is the Exact Language of 501c3?”

If you’re interested enough to actually read the tax code, it’s fairly short – at least 501c3 is extremely short, but it references 501h, which is longer and harder to understand. Here’s 501c3, from Cornell University Law School:

Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

The reference to 501h is rather confusing, but it basically means that tax-exempt churches cannot spend more than 20% of their budget on “lobbying or grassroots expenditures.” If they spend astronomical amounts above $500,000, there’s a sort of bracketed decrease in the percentage of expenditures that can be political, and it caps at some $1 million, if I understood it aright. So here’s 501h:

Expenditures by public charities to influence legislation

(1) General rule

In the case of an organization to which this subsection applies, exemption from taxation under subsection (a) shall be denied because a substantial part of the activities of such organization consists of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation, but only if such organization normally—
(A)makes lobbying expenditures in excess of the lobbying ceiling amount for such organization for each taxable year, or
(B)makes grass roots expenditures in excess of the grass roots ceiling amount for such organization for each taxable year.

(2) Definitions

For purposes of this subsection—

(A) Lobbying expenditures

The term “lobbying expenditures” means expenditures for the purpose of influencing legislation (as defined in section 4911(d)).

(B) Lobbying ceiling amount

The lobbying ceiling amount for any organization for any taxable year is 150 percent of the lobbying nontaxable amount for such organization for such taxable year, determined under section 4911.

(C) Grass roots expenditures

The term “grass roots expenditures” means expenditures for the purpose of influencing legislation (as defined in section 4911(d) without regard to paragraph (1)(B) thereof).

(D) Grass roots ceiling amount

The grass roots ceiling amount for any organization for any taxable year is 150 percent of the grass roots nontaxable amount for such organization for such taxable year, determined under section 4911.

(3) Organizations to which this subsection applies

This subsection shall apply to any organization which has elected (in such manner and at such time as the Secretary may prescribe) to have the provisions of this subsection apply to such organization and which, for the taxable year which includes the date the election is made, is described in subsection (c)(3) and—
(A)is described in paragraph (4), and
(B)is not a disqualified organization under paragraph (5).

(4) Organizations permitted to elect to have this subsection apply

An organization is described in this paragraph if it is described in—
(A)section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) (relating to educational institutions),
(B)section 170(b)(1)(A)(iii) (relating to hospitals and medical research organizations),
(C)section 170(b)(1)(A)(iv) (relating to organizations supporting government schools),
(D)section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (relating to organizations publicly supported by charitable contributions),
(E)section 509(a)(2) (relating to organizations publicly supported by admissions, sales, etc.), or
(F)section 509(a)(3) (relating to organizations supporting certain types of public charities) except that for purposes of this subparagraph, section 509(a)(3) shall be applied without regard to the last sentence of section 509(a).

(5) Disqualified organizations

For purposes of paragraph (3) an organization is a disqualified organization if it is—
(A)described in section 170(b)(1)(A)(i) (relating to churches),
(B)an integrated auxiliary of a church or of a convention or association of churches, or
(C)a member of an affiliated group of organizations (within the meaning of section 4911(f)(2)) if one or more members of such group is described in subparagraph (A) or (B).

(6) Years for which election is effective

An election by an organization under this subsection shall be effective for all taxable years of such organization which—
(A)end after the date the election is made, and
(B)begin before the date the election is revoked by such organization (under regulations prescribed by the Secretary).

(7) No effect on certain organizations

With respect to any organization for a taxable year for which—
(A)such organization is a disqualified organization (within the meaning of paragraph (5)), or
(B)an election under this subsection is not in effect for such organization,
nothing in this subsection or in section 4911 shall be construed to affect the interpretation of the phrase, “no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation,” under subsection (c)(3).

(8) Affiliated organizations

For rules regarding affiliated organizations, see section 4911(f).

Disclaimer: This is my understanding of what the tax code appears to be saying, but you are liable for your own conclusions. I disclaim liability.

Kim Davis Is Free

If you haven’t yet heard, Kim Davis just got released from jail! I know lots of people are excited about it!

Here’s a short video of Pastor Greg Locke giving his thoughts on the event. Excellent overview! When Christians unite, and are not ashamed, NOT JUST OF THE GOSPEL, but of things that are corollary to the Gospel, such as ‪#‎ReligiousLiberty‬, or ‪#‎Conservatism‬, things happen.‪#‎KimDavis‬ is out of jail, an hour before the rally is even to begin! Praise God!

Thank you, God, that Kim Davis is free! And it is good to see a bit of common sense from folks, as her imprisonment was totally hypocritical and uncalled for.

Did your candidate stand with Kim Davis? Ted Cruz did. Here’s proof. In fact, Kim Davis is free right now at about the same time Ted Cruz arrived in Kentucky. I wonder if it was a coincidence, or if the judge felt a bit of the fear of authority from Ted Cruz. 🙂

Ted Cruz Stood with Kim Davis
Ted Cruz Stood with Kim Davis – Did Your Candidate Do the Same?

Free Kim Davis

I found this Yahoo! News article smearing Kim Davis, and wanted to “answer the bias”! I’ll present their exact text, and break down why I think it’s so out of harmony with reality and common sense. Here’s the address, unless it gets taken down: http://news.yahoo.com/no-kim-davis-cant-beg-041235821.html. My text comments will be in red. 🙂

No, Kim Davis, You Can’t Beg for Money on GoFundMe

While Kentucky clerk Kim Davis sits in jail for being in contempt of court after refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, her lawyers are hard at work trying to clean up her mess ✫ Stop right there. Why is it “her mess”? More like, “the Supreme Court’s mess,” because SCOTUS isn’t supposed to be writing laws FOR THIS VERY REASON – it leads to sticky situations where people get thrown in jail instead of knowing how to resolve difficulties. ✫ and the judge is in a bind when it comes to hitting her where it hurts.

DailyKos reported that “Plaintiffs in the case had asked [District Court Judge David] Bunning to fine Davis, but they specifically requested that he not jail her. Bunning, though, said fines would not work because others might raise money to pay the penalty on her behalf.” Well, thanks to a pair of homophobic bakers, they won’t be able to do it on GoFundMe. ✫ Okay, “homophobic” has nothing to do with making a logical point, but is merely a SMEAR to make people feel emotional hate towards the person. In fact, I got a chance to meet Aaron Klein, and to see Melissa Klein in person, at the Iowa Religious Liberty Rally on August 21 of this year, and Melissa is a sweet person who has worked very hard at her business and was plainly hurt emotionally by the ruling against her. She spoke of how many things she would do for gays because she loved them, but she could not violate her conscience. Yes, Yahoo, there is such a thing called a “conscience,” and #ConscienceMatters to a lot of folks. That’s what the 1st Amendment is all about, is making sure government doesn’t step in and force people of any faith to do things that they don’t feel comfortable about. ✫

According to Salon.com, the crowdsourcing service nixed a fundraising campaign for Sweet Cakes by Melissa owners Aaron and Melissa Klein earlier this year. They were fined $135,000 for refusing to go through with a wedding cake request ✫ Isn’t it INSANE that Aaron and Melissa were asked to pay such an astronomical amount for “emotional harm” done to the gay couple? What if I asked for $2 million in emotional damages from the actions of Obama and extreme Democrats in charge in America? Let’s get real, and stop the outlandish fines. If a gay couple is so unstable as to need $100K+ just because someone didn’t want to participate in celebrating their actions, then perhaps they should consider becoming straight. At the very least, it sure ins’t convincing that they were “born that way” when they are so easily discombobulated. ✫ for a gay couple. In a statement, GoFundMe explained:

“After careful review by our team, we have found the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. The subjects of the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”

Steve Deace Aaron and Melissa Klein Barronelle Stutsman Blaine Adamson Phillip Monk and Kelvin Cochran
Steve Deace, Aaron and Melissa Klein, Barronelle Stutsman, Blaine Adamson, Phillip Monk, and Kelvin Cochran

Later on, its policy was changed to explicitly say that “GoFundMe will not allow campaigns that benefit individuals or groups facing formal charges or claims of serious violations of the law.” In order words, Kim Davis is out of luck. ✫ And here we go again. “Out of luck” is a rather poor choice of words. Was it lucky for SCOTUS to rule against the will of the people of America and try to establish law, when they’re only supposed to be rendering OPINION? Was is lucky for her to be put in a position where she might lose her job? Was it “lucky” for her to be thrown into prison? “Out of luck” is a poor choice of words, Yahoo. You can do better. ✫

However, she does have supporters in other anti-gay crusaders like Mike Huckabee, ✫ Not so fast, Yahoo. Once again, you’re using a loaded term by saying “anti-gay.” We could just as well call the pro-choice crowd “anti-life” if we wanted to, but we generally use the term “pro-choice” to show a bit of civility. When you use a term like “anti-gay,” it makes it sound like Mike has animosity against gays, which is not the point at all. The point is, Mike believes every American should retain his or her 1st Amendment rights, and should not be threatened with jail for violating their conscience – quite a different matter than being “anti-gay.” ✫ who is planning an “#ImWithKim Liberty Rally” on Tuesday. ✫ God bless him for doing it! That’s awesome that he’s holding a rally to defend Kim from being stupidly thrown into prison! Why don’t you like him holding the rally? Are you a #Hater, Yahoo? Apparently so. ✫ The National Organization for Marriage also stepped in, calling for “a massive mobilization of the grassroots and a ferocious public relations and advertising campaign.” They invite you to help raise $100,000 for the struggling clerk (who makes $80,000 per year) by Labor Day. ✫ Ah, but Yahoo, you were glad the gay couple got $100K+ in emotional damages awarded to them for simply being refused a cake at one store. Wow, it might have cost them an extra hour or two at the worst, and if they REALLY BELIEVE gay marriage is morally right, they SHOULDN’T HAVE any emotional damages when a person like Melissa Klein respectfully and lovingly declines to do their request. Now, Kim Davis DOES have a right to some SERIOUS emotional damage compensation. She’s been thrown in jail, her name tarnished, her job possibly ended, and people have expressed violence towards her. To be consistent, if the gay couple got $135K awarded for them, Kim Davis ought to be awarded something like $1 Billion dollars, because she’s probably been through about 1,000 times as much trouble as the gay couple in Oregon was put through for having one store not bake them a cake. ✫

Yeah, good luck with that. ✫ Snarky, Yahoo. Hope you can get over your hate, and bury the hatchet. At the very least, if you had any respect, you’d support the effort to free Kim Davis. #FreeKimDavis! ✫

How to Make a Difference in the World

Written by Brad Caldwell on 9/6/15.

So I was visiting a Baptist church this Sunday morning, and they had a guest speaker talking upon the subject of “How to Make a Difference in the World,” or something close to that. I thought it was going to be good, but I was disappointed. Because again as so often in churches these days, the underlying premise was, “Shut up and admit the liberals are right.” The message was, “Be sinless! And be so ashamed of yourself if there’s anything in your past that’s slightly inconsistent that liberals or a fellow church member could point to, that you don’t dare call black, ‘black;’ and white, ‘white’!” The message was, “Be discouraged, because they’re probably going to throw you into a prison, and you probably deserve it, too!”

Gas Ovens at Auschwitz Where Jews Were Cremated
Gas Ovens at Auschwitz Where Jews Were Cremated

You know, that’s the nonsense that the Jewish leaders were spouting off to their Jewish congregations at the time of the Holocaust. And what did it do? It just played right into Hitler’s playbook.

Well, you know what? I’m not accepting the garbage.

Hitler’s loss of popularity in Germany began when people got the courage finally to pass around tracts discussing reality – that what was going on was horrific and wrong. That the Satanic, diabolical treatment of the Jews was NOT justified for any sick reason set forth, including whether the Jews were “righteous enough” to be treated with human decency!

Although, from a young age, and by the grace of God, I chose Jesus and purity, yet even if I had had a past that people would like to criticize – even if I knew there was “dirt” that somebody could “dig up” on me, I just wouldn’t care – because the Gospel says you’re forgiven (like, really forgiven) if you believe in Jesus Christ.

To really believe the Gospel means you no longer care if someone is able to “dig up dirt” on you.

One Baptist preacher I heard put it well: “God casts your sin into the depths of the sea, and puts up a sign that says, ‘No Fishing.'” Inevitably, though, people will “fish,” and you’ve got to keep believing the Gospel even when they “catch something on you.”

no fishing allowed
As Far As God Is Concerned, Your Sin in Buried in the Lake, and While “Fishing” May Happen, It Is Not Allowed to Affect Your State

The Bible I read tells me it’s not a sin to be happy about Jesus. The Bible I read tells me that real Christians man up and do something about evil in the world! The Bible I read tells me that if Josh Duggar has experienced repentance through faith in the blood of Jesus, he should go right on doing the work of God however he feels called, and we Christians shouldn’t blink an eye over it. When you make salvation about works, people are going to get more and more entrenched in sin.

Do you really expect, in Obama’s America, when sex has been pushed down everyone’s throat every day for 6 1/2 years, that everyone has been perfectly circumspect? I’d say, if people are still wanting to hold on to Jesus after all the antichrist pressures of extreme Democrats in our country, then God bless them! Jesus started with where people were – He forgave even adulterers, remember? – and we should keep that in mind. The Gospel isn’t about sin and misery, it’s about a God who so loved us in our sin that He made a way for us to be forgiven. In that love that God shows, we naturally find ourselves hating sin, but the focus is on the remedy, not on reinforcing a problem.

The Gospel has a benevolent, gentle attitude towards people that begin with truth, not a “persecutorial” attitude. The Gospel is most fiery, not in crushing weak people who embrace truth, but in opposing religious bullies who perpetrate unreality as being reality.

I think if the church needs anything in these days, it needs encouragement. It needs a free Gospel. Church leaders today are often legalists – adding to the Gospel – by requiring Christians to deny the joy and blessing in their hearts and to “just shut up” about standing up for righteousness, in order to be a “good, true Christian.”

If You Don’t Forbid Excitement About Football, Then Don’t Forbid Excitement About Jesus!

In churches I have visited, I see so little joy and enthusiasm, that for me to sing along a little heartily to the songs makes me stick out like a sore thumb. What in the world!? That’s not a way to make strangers feel comfortable, and it’s definitely not a way to attract new people to Jesus. It’s a good thing God clearly revealed Himself to me at my conversion, because otherwise I’d feel as embarrassed as a nervous toddler at most church services, just to do the things they expect of you, and I’d certainly never want to return to such places! No wonder the churches are emptying out!

So how do we as Christians make a difference in the world? By STANDING FOR TRUTH. By holding fast and saying, “Yes, as insane, as hated, as ridiculed as it may seem under the circumstances, I still believe in everything that is true.” And the thing that is most vilified today, true conservatism, is EXACTLY where we need to stand and fight. And we are HAPPY to fight for it with a smile, because when you stand for TRUTH, you get the supernatural joy that Jesus spoke of!

You are blessed when people hate you, when they exclude you, insult you, and slander your name as evil because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! Take note–your reward is great in heaven, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets. – Luke 6:22, HCSB

Martin Luther Here I Stand I Can Do No Other
Martin Luther – “Here I Stand, I Can Do No Other!”

The text of this image is so true, and so applicable to the fight for truth in our day:

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God EXCEPT precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages THERE the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” – Martin Luther

How do we make a difference? By demanding that the insanity in our churches stop. I mentioned that I was visiting churches. The reason is because a few months ago, an issue came up in the church I had been going to for years. I was asked by somewhat new leadership in the church not to give any public commendation of Ted Cruz. I was told I could commend him “in my heart,” but could not make it public. They literally said:

Just don’t say anything good about conservatives, and don’t say anything bad about the Democrat party.

They refined that ultimatum somewhat, but I was still required to not show any commendation for conservatives online. I could not agree to that in good conscience, so I was shocked to be booted from the church I had gone to for 14 years. Well, I am happy to die on that hill, defending the right to commend politicians if I see some good thing in them. And I did that only by the grace of God, but I do want to mention it, because I really believe it is a time for truth in our churches as well as in our nation. If we don’t stand up to insanity inside the church, if we just go along with it, we will never make a difference. Standing for truth is the answer for how to make a difference in the world.

Ted Cruz Tee-Shirt
Ted Cruz Tee-Shirt!

Those church leaders that forbade speaking good of Ted Cruz also told me, “There’s no chance he can win.” Well, I certainly can’t predict the future, so I don’t know who will win, but I know if we don’t try, even if it is just to get in our prayer closets and pray for Cruz, then we certainly won’t win.

With God, All Things Are Possible
With God, All Things Are Possible

So, lighten up, play some games, enjoy life, laugh at the insanity, and don’t let it overcome you. We’re on the winning side at least in the grand scheme of things, and if the liberals kill you for your faith, let them kill you with a smile on your face, knowing you are heaven-bound, and knowing you fought their lies, and were happy in Jesus, to the bloody death.

All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast. – Proverbs 15:15, CKJV

Ray Comfort has an interesting note on this passage:

Laughter is the enemy of legalism. Liberty and joy go hand in hand.

Go proclaim liberty and joy in Jesus Christ, and God bless!

Immigrants to America Should Show Some Respect

Written by Brad Caldwell on 9/5/15.

Thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
    and raise my signal to the peoples;
and they shall bring your sons in their arms,
    and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,
    and their queens your nursing mothers.
With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,
    and lick the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
    those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” – Isaiah 49:22-23, ESV

In this passage of the Bible, it speaks of how Gentiles (non-Jews) would show so much respect for the people of God, that they would help carry Jews back to their land, and would “lick” the dust of their feet, because they had so much honor towards a people chosen by God.

Gospel Sign
Gospel Sign

A troubling poll I saw showed that, out of a poll of 600 Muslim-Americans who planned to vote in the elections, 43% did not believe peoples of other faiths (including Christian) should have the right to witness to them! The Wenzel Strategies poll (as far as I can tell, it appears to be accurate) asked specifically whether “…U.S. citizens have a right to evangelize Muslims to consider other faiths.” Nearly half don’t believe we have a right to even share our faith with them? Well, quite frankly, don’t come here if you can’t show a little more respect than that! If you found America to be a desirous place to come to, it’s the height of disrespect to try to tell us we don’t have the right to follow the very laws that made our country great.

Our nation is far from perfect, but if it was great enough to attract you, if you think God has somewhat blessed the land, then it’s insane to do anything other than what this passage from Isaiah 49:22-23 teaches by principle, which is to show great respect towards those people, and towards their faith.

Bible Study
Bible Study

I understand that there is a lot of religious pressure on you, to go along with Islam. It may be that your whole family, most of your peers, etc., follow it. But at some point, you have to choose whether you want to be a person of integrity, and it simply is pathetic to come to America, and answer a private poll that you’d like to see Americans imprisoned simply for bothering your time slightly to peacefully share their religion with you. Nonsense like this can’t be permitted. America is quite generous towards all religions, but we expect just a tiny bit of generosity in exchange. Don’t act like it’s a such a bother to you for someone to share their faith with you that you want them imprisoned. And if the only way you can do that and be consistent is to leave Islam, then you need to leave Islam. If your religion teaches such utter lack of integrity that you are required to act like a jerk towards the very country you came to enjoy, then that religion is devilish and you need to make your exit. Or, prove me wrong, and show me that Islam can show some respect. Either way is fine, as long as you understand that 0% should answer a poll the way that 43% just did. This isn’t about religion – it’s about common decency, respect, and sanity.

A Gospel Sign on a Tree
A Gospel Sign on a Tree

Additionally, Mexican immigrants to America should show some respect for the country. If I was going to a country that I admired, I would want to learn that language, and I would show respect towards the people of that country. For that matter, I’ve even tried to learn some Spanish just to try to be friendly to those coming here! Disdainful arrogance, and utter lack of interest in the country, is simply not right. Not all Mexican immigrants are like that, certainly, but it’s becoming all-too-more-the-common.

I’m not asking immigrants to lick the dust off of our feet, but with some of the attitudes that have been expressed by some, it might not be a bad change of events if they willingly chose to do so!

Justification by Faith

Written by Brad Caldwell on 9/4/15.

The Central Doctrine of Christianity
The Central Doctrine of Christianity

The central and blessed doctrine of Christianity is simple – that of Justification by Faith.

Why Is It Such a Great Doctrine?

Justification by faith is great because it means hope for lost sinners. It means the possibility of instantaneous forgiveness and right-standing with God. It means the proximity of the Kingdom of God. It means that you can know Jesus. It means that you can experience the blessedness of serving Him. God is not a far-off thing, but can fill your soul in a moment of time!

On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. – Romans 10:8-10, HCSB

Justification by faith is what I would call a sinner’s “nuclear option” – there are a lot of religious folks who will be glad to shut you up and say “there, there” concerning you if you become a Christian. There are people ready to point to your past; there are people that will point to your present; and there are naysayers that would take away your future. But this doctrine places in your hand a weapon more powerful than all of that combined! It’s the antidote for church hypocrisy, discouragement, and frustrated seeking of truth. Because if you’re willing to believe this Gospel, that faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection is sufficient to save you, you can endure the whole onslaught of false religion (and there’s a lot of that out there!). You can rise above it all to walk with God!

The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John

Why Do People Need to Be Justified?

We are all born into the world with a sinful nature inherited from the first man and woman God created – Adam and Eve. Theologians have deduced that we would have all chosen to rebel like they did, if given their opportunity; and anyway, we all prove ourselves to be sinners by being blind to God and doing things against Him that we may not have realized were wrong. When God justifies a person, they see that hate of their fellow man is wrong; they see that purity and respect matter; they see things in quite a new fashion.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. – Romans 10:3, KJV

Because God is so morally wonderful, He cannot have fellowship with those who are alienated from Him through their sins.

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing. – Habakkuk 1:13a, HCSB

Habakkuk Fragment
Habakkuk Fragment

People often scoff at the idea, but God’s moral beauty and perfection is so great that His abhorrence of sin calls for a place of eternal torment for those people who never believe His Gospel. It is not human anger or wrath, but a perfect righteous indignation that is morally right.

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: – 2 Thessalonians 1:8, KJV

God’s love and benevolence is also so boundless that He made a way to reconcile people to Himself. Jesus, the Son of God, died on a cross. In doing so, somehow in the metaphysical dimension, and because Jesus is God, His suffering expiated the sins of the world. If you believe in Him as your Savior from sin and your God, you will recognize your sins, be forgiven, hate your sin, and love the new life He gives you!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – Jesus, in John 3:16, KJV

A Few Deductions from This Doctrine

1. If Justification Is by Faith, It Is Necessarily Instantaneous

There are some that say you must be baptized, must speak in tongues, or must do some other thing to “complete” your salvation. Though they may be well-meaning, such ideas compromise the doctrine of Justification by Faith, and the very foundation of the Gospel. If salvation is a process, then it is certainly not faith, because believing something obviously happens in a moment of time. Such people were around in the time of the early church, and Paul, the first church leader or apostle, didn’t put up with it:

Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved!” But after Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in serious argument and debate, the church arranged for Paul and Barnabas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem concerning this controversy. – Acts 15:1-2, HCSB

Water Baptism While Good Is Neither Meritorious Nor a Completion of Salvation
Water Baptism, While Good, Is Neither Meritorious Nor a “Completion” of Salvation

2. If Justification Is by Faith, It Is Not by Works

You can pile a list of things up from here to the moon that “aren’t enough” to get you to heaven, but always remember that one thing is enough – having believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior and God.

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. – Romans 4:5, KJV

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. – Galatians 5:4, KJV

Martin Luther led a religious revolution to restore this truth – be sure you fight just as hard for it! Paul even goes into a bit of poetic back-and-forth to make it plain to folks that grace (or faith) cannot be mingled with works:

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. – Romans 11:6, KJV

Martin Luther Here I Stand I Can Do No Other
Martin Luther – “Here I Stand, I Can Do No Other!”

3. Justification by Faith Naturally Leads to Dynamic Godliness

The kindness and love of a God who freely forgives sinners upon faith in Christ, and promises to keep them, is the best way to cultivate a closer walk with God. Godliness grows best (or only!) in the environment of grace, and it grows naturally.

What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. But Israel, pursuing the law for righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written:

Look! I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over
and a rock to trip over,
yet the one who believes on Him
will not be put to shame – Romans 9:30-33, HCSB

4. Justification by Faith Has Eternal Security As a Corollary

The idea that God would not keep you once He has saved you is incongruous with the doctrine of Justification by Faith. The whole point of Justification by Faith is that you are trusting God to save you. To completely save you! If you allow doubt in the keeping power of God, you have doubted the promise of God, a most heinous sin. And the thing is, you don’t really have any choice. If you choose to doubt that God will keep you, then you’re back into your own hands, to try to save yourself, and if you’re not sure how that will work out, take a look at Israel in the wilderness, where they were all overthrown because they did not believe in a good God. You will end up in spiritual ruin if you doubt the promise of God!

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. – Jesus, in John 5:24, KJV

 Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, had this to say:

“I do not know how some people, who believe that a Christian can fall from grace, manage to be happy. It must be a very commendable thing in them to be able to get through a day without despair. If I did not believe the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, I think I should be of all men the most miserable, because I should lack any ground of comfort.”

Charles Spurgeon Grave Monument
Charles Spurgeon Grave Monument

I Am Kim Davis

Written by Brad Caldwell on September 4, 2015.

I Am Kim Davis
I Am Kim Davis! Religious Liberty Matters!

I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely outraged at the hatred, bigotry, and vitriolic intolerance shown by the left (and even the cowardice shown by many Republicans and Republican candidates for President [instance Carly Fiorina]) shown against Kim Davis! If we give up our first amendment, we have nothing in this country anymore. This is pathetic – that a woman who respectfully declines to do what Obama himself said he was against as recently as a few years ago, is arrested and put in jail. Absolute double-standard. This is just unacceptable. America needs to stand up and say so. Thank you, TED CRUZ, that you are actually defending the first amendment. You DESERVE to be President!

Stand with Kim Davis
Stand with Kim Davis!

It would be hypocritical enough if Kim Davis was forced to quit her job (because Democrats pick and choose what they want to obey [instance amnesty, Constitution, etc.]); but to put her in jail in absolutely insufferable! Kim Davis is getting death threats, people are threatening to blow up her house – why? – because she won’t do what she believes is morally wrong. Wow, nothing says TOLERANCE like a death threat, huh? The gay couple might have to spend an extra few hours to go to some other courthouse, in order to do what has been illegal for centuries, and which extreme liberals finally managed to get shoved through the American legal system. But for Kim to be a #ConscientiousObjector means she has to lose her job AND be put in jail. Pah-thetic. Can you imagine the outcry if extreme conservatives passed a law outlawing sodomy, and a couple of gays were put in jail? That’s the kind of double-standard we’re talking about. Liberals cried “tolerance” to the point that gays are allowed to get married, yet they are not people of principle, because when America surrendered to them (or at least the high Court), they won’t extend the VERY SAME value IN THE SLIGHTEST to anyone else. It was all about a political objective, and NEVER about “love,” “kindness,” “tolerance,” or any other such thing.

Stand with Kim Davis
Stand with Kim Davis

Before you go, check out this awesome video by a Pastor in Tennessee.



Am I Not a Woman and a Sister
Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?