Here is your weekly newsletter created for listeners and friends of
Paul Heil's "The Gospel Greats" syndicated radio program.

The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter
Published October 18, 2016

In This Edition

Paul's Epistle

"Paul, what are your recommendations for the coming election?"

Wow. I really wish you hadn't asked. This election is unlike any previous one that I can remember. Personally, I cannot fully endorse either candidate for President. But I can offer some guidance, especially through links below to various resources, that tend to make clear the choice we have this year.

Let me begin with two premises:

  1. Neither presidential candidate is perfect. Both are flawed.

  2. Sitting out the election (or voting for a third party candidate, which is essentially the same) is not an option.

First, we must remember that although Christians are not to be "of the world" (John 17:14-16) we most certainly are in it. And if we are to be the "salt and light" of the world (Matthew 5:13-16), then doing nothing — not voting, in this case — is not an option. It is a gift God has given us through the nation's founding fathers who quite publicly expressed their reliance on the Almighty. But today, if we fail to use such tools available to us to stem the government's secularist and humanist campaign, we forfeit a key part of our possible impact for Christ on society. If we do nothing, we get what we deserve.

To all who have eyes to see, it should be abundantly, undeniably obvious that choices made four and eight years ago have been, shall I simply say as graciously as I can, "very negative" regarding the cause of Christ and Christian morals in American society at large. Something must change.

Various analysts have determined that between 25 and 40 million evangelical Christians sat out the last election — and look what we got. (For comparison, in 2012, Obama beat Romney by just 5 million votes.) Billy Graham has said, "It is the duty of every individual Christian at election time to study the issues and candidates and then go to the polls and vote."

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council puts it this way: "The choices we have before us in the presidential race are disappointing, but they're a reflection of who we've become as a country. Too many Christians have become comfortable sitting in the safety of the sidelines rather than being in the battle for the heart and soul of America and her future."

If we set aside for a moment the flawed personalities of the two presidential candidates — and I know that's virtually impossible — but, if we do that, what we have left to consider are (1) the party platforms and (2) actual choices that the presidential candidates have already made (not just promises) — choices that could be considered "presidential," not "personal," and predictive of how they would make further choices in office.

So, let's first consider a few differences in the party platforms.

Regarding abortion, the Republican platform is said to include the strongest pro-life language ever: "Proud to be the party that protects human life....and strongly opposes infanticide." The Democrat platform, by contrast, is stronger than ever in its total support for abortion, promising to overturn "federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman's access to abortion." (God will not pardon "the shedding of innocent blood." See 2 Kings 24:3-4, etc.)

Republicans define marriage as the "union of one man and one woman." (Gen. 2:24.) Democrats say anyone has the right to marry anyone, regardless of gender. (Jude 7.)

Republicans say "if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail." Democrats did not address this in their platform. Do they think God is irrelevant?1

Well-known pastor John MacArthur, in describing the 2012 Democrat platform, said, "I was amazed that one of the historic parties in the U.S. adopted the sins of Romans 1 as their platform... Parties that used to differ on economics now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of God's law and morality."4  The same applies in 2016.

The U. S. Supreme Court is another critical issue that hangs in the balance. Every major court ruling in recent history that has gone against Christian rights and values has come when liberal justices prevailed. Right now, the court is tied 4-to-4, following the unexpected death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Donald Trump has already released a list of more than a dozen highly-qualified conservative jurists he could nominate — individuals who "will respect the Constitution of the United States." Hillary Clinton has not yet provided any names, but promised to pick justices who will uphold abortion "rights" and homosexual "marriage." Not to do so, she says, would "take us backwards." By "backwards," does she mean back to "old-fashioned" Biblical standards?

Supreme Court rulings can impact the nation for generations. Just look at the what Roe v. Wade has done. Your great-great-grandchildren and their beliefs and religious liberties could be adversely impacted by Court rulings handed down in the next few years, should the Lord tarry. As Dr. David Jeremiah notes, "the impact will be most likely felt more because of what happens in the Supreme Court than anything else that happens in the government."2

So what other presidential (not personal) decisions, already made by the two candidates, could shed additional light on the contrast between them? How about the candidates' choices for vice president? Trump has chosen a man, Gov. Mike Pence, who many times has said he is "a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third." He is pro-life and has called for ending taxpayer support for the nation's largest abortion mill, Planned Parenthood. Hillary has chosen Gov. Tim Kaine, who, although calling himself a Catholic, dismisses and ignores his own church's orthodoxy on such issues as abortion (he supports it — and, in return, Planned Parenthood heartily endorses him), gay "marriage" (he's all for it), etc.

If we can just look beyond the people at the top of the tickets, such issues and considerations certainly help clarify which party is more deserving of our vote — not just for the top spot, but for any of their candidates at all levels who pledge to adhere to platform standards. The differences really are quite clear.

The Presidential Prayer Team, the nation's largest full-time independent prayer ministry, recently summed up the significance of this election in this way: "We are in a spiritual battle for the very life of America. These days were forewarned by founder George Washington, who said when leadership is corrupt, then God and our Constitution are ignored. America is being dismantled piece by piece; dissolving into a mold of liberalism and universalism. The exceptional benefits from God's blessing on America are being minimized, changed, or even given away to other countries."

Author and commentator Eric Metaxas makes no bones about a Christian's responsibility in all this: "Anyone who says they're not going to vote in this election simply doesn't understand what's at stake. It's ‘all hands on deck.' God forbid we should sit this one out."3

These are certainly difficult and frustrating times.

Of course, our hope is — and must always be — in the Lord, not in any man (or woman). Salvation comes from the Lord, not from any person or party. What's more, Christ could return at any moment and this whole matter would be instantly rendered meaningless. (Wouldn't that be great? That would have my vote!)  But we cannot act as if that is definitely going to happen by November 8th. Christians are to "occupy" until the Lord returns, and an occupying force is supposed to have a positive impact on the occupied territory.

Evangelist Alveda King, a niece of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., says, "Vote for the candidate with the greater potential to deliver on issues most closely aligned with our faith and what is good for America. This choice may be uncomfortable. But remember, we're trusting God's wisdom instead of a human candidate. (Proverbs 3:5-8). For me, it's sanctity of human life, procreation, racial justice, economic growth and stability, a positive work ethic, good health, safe borders, domestic harmony, good jobs, sustainable values-based education, family stability, and a God-guided U. S. Supreme Court; all biblical. Even the building of a wall. It's not a first! Ezra and Nehemiah did that."5

Please pray harder than ever regarding this election — "pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:18a). But prayer always is followed by an act of obedience — obedience reflecting God's will. Be sure to vote for candidates at all levels who will support and not trample the most fundamental Christian values.

- Paul

1. You can find an excellent issue-by-issue comparison of the Republican and Democrat platforms online here. The contrasts on such issues as healthcare, the LGBT agenda, education, terrorism, etc., are stunning.
2. Decision Magazine, September 2016, p. 11.
3. Ibid, p. 35.
4. From
5. Release through Christian Newswire, 8/9/2016.
Note: Here is an excellent list from Dr. Alex McFarland of eight things Christians should consider in this election.  Here is another excellent detailed article from a respected pastor which makes the contrasts between candidates abundantly clear from a Christian perspective. 


A printable version of the Epistle above is linked from our newsletter archive page, listed by date and title:
NOTE: That same page includes a link to the audio version of this "Epistle."

Coming on the broadcast the weekend of October 22nd & 23rd, 2016:

Featured Artists:   Our Featured Artists will be the Tribute Quartet with songs from their brand new CD, "Here For You." We'll talk with Gary Casto, Anthony Davis, Riley Harrison Clark and Josh Singletary about the songs that are most meaningful to them. Among them will be their new radio single, "Never Forsaken," and a very timely song about storms. Please join us for our visit with the Tribute Quartet.

Artist Spotlight:   Our Artist Spotlight guests will be the Wilbanks, a family group in their 15th year of fulltime concert touring. This group has appeared multiple times on the main stage of the National Quartet Convention. You'll hear three songs from their current CD, "Thy Kingdom Come." Terry Wilbanks will give you some of the group's background. And Monica Matthews, their songwriter, will tell you about two of her songs. Please get to know the Wilbanks on this Artist Spotlight segment.

Headline Update:   Included will be the first of four special profiles of this year's inductees into the Southern Gospel Music Association's Hall of Fame.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?
Click here to hear the audio announcement regarding this next program.
Click here to find a local station carrying The Gospel Greats program.

From the broadcast the weekend of October 15th & 16th, 2016:

It's always a pleasure to sit down and visit with our special Featured Artist on the first hour of this program, songwriter extraordinaire Dianne Wilkinson. The eleven songs on this hour — all recorded by different top artists — reflect just a small sampling of songs that she has out there these days. As you heard, she's increasingly writing with co-writers — also some of the best out there — and this, she says, provides additional perspectives that result in even better songs. I think the one song we discussed and played on the program — the Kingdom Heirs' "Saving Us A Place In The Choir" — will undoubtedly become a top radio and concert song. We even got to include her first Cathedrals song from back in 1982, "Turn Your Back." As you heard her say, writing such songs brings her great joy. And it shows.

The second hour of this program was devoted to some of the edited sounds and excitement from the recent 2016 Singing News Fan Awards presentations before a packed house at the National Quartet convention, September 28th, in Pigeon Forge, TN. As you heard, Triumphant Quartet and the Booth Brothers were the big winners. As I mentioned on the program, these awards -- audited by a professional accounting firm -- are simply a way in which Singing News readers can tangibly encourage their favorite artists in their musical ministries. You can find the list of winners here.

On the Headline Update you heard about the "Celebrity Dunk Tank Challenge" during the NQC to benefit Veranda Ministries, an organization helping individuals and families address issues surrounding Alzheimer's Disease or dementia. Donations can still be made (although nobody will be dunked). Info can be found here.

For the song list from this broadcast, click on the link below.   (PDF viewer required.)

Hear last weekend's Headline Update report about your favorite artists by clicking on this link:

New items available this week from

  • Jim Brady Trio"Promises" (CD)
  • Kingdom Heirs "Glory To God In The Highest" (CD)
  • Freedom Quartet "Hymns of Faith & Freedom" (CD)
  • Hyssongs"Merry Christmas" (CD)
  • New Ground"Live In Bessemer" (DVD and CD)
  • Joyaires"Classics" (CD)
  • Stutzmen's Second Generation"Never Alone" (CD)

Click here to view those Southern Gospel music items in this week's Springside Music Update newsletter — including 20 percent discounts on this week's new releases. Or get the Springside Music Update newsletter by email each Monday. Details can be found here. Or call 800 38 MUSIC during weekday office hours to ask about this week's specials or to order. Your purchases from Springside help support The Gospel Greats program.

Shelia Shares
"Our Adventures"

Recently we were to the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was a tiring but great week. In five days, Paul did 87 group interviews. I greeted most groups and enjoyed talking with artists and other music fans. Everything went so smoothly.

Then we headed for home.

It would have been too late to travel all the way home on Saturday, so we decided to stop in Lynchburg and visit the Thomas Road Baptist Church the next morning, just to see what it was like. We had reservations at a name-brand hotel but we couldn't find it. After driving around for a while, Paul sent me into a Dollar Tree to get directions (big mistake). Since I had never been to the city and didn't know where Chick-Fil-A and Applebees were located (the references they gave), directions were pretty rough. I went back to the car, dreading to tell Paul I had no clue where to go.

Paul told me to get in, since we were going to follow someone he had spoken with in the parking lot. We wove around seemingly everywhere and finally the guy pointed us into our hotel's parking lot. We waved our "thanks" and they drove on.

To the family who heard me asking directions in the store, stopped to talk to Paul at the car and then volunteered to guide us, "Thank You." I wish I knew who you were. But, regardless, I know God sent you. If you aren't an actual angel, to us you're as close as a human can come. That was an answer to prayer.

Getting to the room was only the start of the adventure. Here is how it went from there.

When I booked the room, I forgot to ask if they provided hot water. (Silly me!) The water was cold. I think that was the shortest shower Paul had ever taken in our almost 34 years of marriage. (He called it "invigorating.")

Next, the motel hair drier worked for about 10 seconds. So much for that.

When we got in the room, I noticed a small metal door in the wall and it was standing open. Inside was a crawl space down to the basement and lots of pipes and wires. The door didn't latch properly, so I moved the microwave to the floor to hold the little door closed.

Next were the motorcycles. There were five of them with some big leather-jacketed motorcycle guys. They parked directly beside our car and in front of our first-floor, front room window.

During the night, I woke several times to banging of the pipes. When we later found out that our entire building was without hot water, Paul thought it could have been disgusted people banging on the pipes.

Paul said he would recommend this hotel for the entertainment value alone. With each new problem, we just laughed harder.

In the morning, after breakfast when no one else was near the desk, I told the manager about the lack of hot water. He said that the fuse often blows if they have high occupancy. When I checked out later that morning, he gave me a nice discount. He said I was "so nice," compared to "that last lady that came in and yelled and shouted" at him.

I am thankful that God provided a guide to get us where we needed to go, that we could keep a sense of humor in less than perfect conditions and that we maintained our Christian witness through it all. That's real life. Let the adventures continue!

- Shelia

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A printable version of Shelia's column above is linked from our newsletter archive page, listed by date and title:
NOTE: That same page includes a link to the audio version of this "Shelia Shares."

On the Lighter Side

But The Sign Says...

One October, my wife and I spent a vacation on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. We were eager to visit the rain forests near the coast, but we heard that snow slides had made some of the roads impassable. Although apprehensive about the conditions we might run into, we drove on. Sure enough, we had gone only a short way up the High Rain Forest road when we saw a sign: "Ice 10 miles." Five miles farther on, there was another sign: "Ice 5 miles." The next one was, "Ice 1/2 mile." We practically crept that half-mile. When we came to the last sign it was outside a small grocery, and it read, "Ice 75 cents."


An amateur photographer was invited to dinner with friends and took along a few pictures to show the hostess. She looked at the photos and commented "These are very good! You must have a good camera." He didn't make any comment, but, as he was leaving to go home he said, "That was a really delicious meal! You must have some very good pots."

Not Again

A waiter brings the customer the steak he ordered, with his thumb squarely on top of the meat. "Are you crazy?" yells the customer. "Don't bring my meal with your hand on my steak!" "What," says the waiter, "you want it to fall on the floor again?"

Church Bulletinboard Signs

Are You Ready?
1 Thess. 5:2-10; Matt. 24:44; Luke 21:34,36
Free Gift
Pray for the President!
Until next Week...Keep Looking Up!

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