1. A Grave Concern for Christians in America

    June 24, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    In current deliberation among California legislators is Senate Bill 1146. I am gravely disturbed by this bill that strikes a direct blow to religious liberty and severely infringes on personal freedoms and the freedoms of Christian institutions in California.

    The so-called “Equity in Higher Education Act” is designed to erode the free exercise of religion given us in both the United States Constitution and the California Constitution, by limiting the involvement of colleges to have students, faculty, and employees live according to the dictates of God’s Word.

    This bill reads, in part,

    “Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, including the perception that the person has any of those characteristics or that the person is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics.”

    West Coast Baptist College is staunchly opposed to this bill that erodes religious liberty and opens the door for the state to impede our purpose of “training laborers for the harvest.”

    As Bible-believing Christians, we believe that every person is made in the image of God and is thus worthy of and should be treated with respect. We welcome students of all nationalities, ethnicities, and backgrounds. We cannot, however, change our biblical convictions regarding morality and adherence to a biblical moral code.

    SB1146 purports to protect against discrimination. This bill, however, is a form of discrimination against religious liberty itself. In the words of Senator John Moorlach, “Restricting private institutions from adhering to its religious beliefs is a violation of their First Amendment rights and an act itself of intolerance.”

    The Constitution prohibits laws which impede religious and biblically-held beliefs. Christian colleges for hundreds of years, have had biblically-based codes of conduct prohibiting extra-marital sex and other activities prohibited by Scripture.

    Not only would this bill impact an institution’s ability to hire or retain staff and accept students based on faith-based practices and morality, but it would impact students themselves who wish to seek education at an institution that aligns with their beliefs. If passed as law, this bill would reach into the dorms, locker rooms, restrooms, and even the academic and spiritual programs of institutions. The bill also creates a system whereby faith-based institutions must report their beliefs before the state, in essence, for approval.

    Although West Coast Baptist College receives no funds from the state of California, we adamantly stand in opposition to SB1146 as a gross overreach of government and a direct violation of religious liberty and personal freedoms. We ask you to help us stop this bill as well.


  2. Making the Most of Free Resources

    June 23, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    One of the miracles of last week was how the Lord anointed every service of Spiritual Leadership Conference. Because of Chandler’s hospitalization, I wasn’t as able to tend to the details of the conference as normal, yet, God, in His own way, touched this conference for His glory.

    Our theme was Continue from 2 Timothy 3:14, and the emphasis was on continuing with a heart for God and in the work of God with renewed passion and commitment to Christ. I’ve been praying for the conference guests and for each pastor and church represented that the Lord will use the truths and helps from the conference to bear fruit that remains in their churches and communities.

    For the past several years, we have placed as much of the conference as we can online for two groups of people—those who could not attend the conference and those who could.

    I’d like to highlight the online resources available to you and suggest a few ways you might use them. (more…)

  3. #SLC16 Live Stream and Conference App

    June 11, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    The 2016 Spiritual Leadership Conference begins in less than twenty-four hours. I am praying for the Lord to empower every moment of this conference for His glory and for the encouragement of His servants.

    Our conference theme is one word, taken from 2 Timothy 3:14—Continue.

    But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;—2 Timothy 3:14

    If there has ever been a time when we need to continue, it is now. In addition to the natural tendency of leaders and churches to drift, we’re facing a mounting onslaught of opposition to our faith from unbelievers. For both reasons, we must be intentional about continuing in the gospel. Please pray with us that the Lord will use this conference to challenge, encourage, and equip pastors and Christian servants.

    I wanted to let you know of two conference resources that I hope are a help to you whether or not you are able to be with us here in Lancaster, California, for the conference. (more…)

  4. My Press Statement Regarding Zavala Family and Desert Rose Elementary School

    June 9, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    On Tuesday, I gathered with  community leaders and local pastors to stand in support of a seven-year-old boy who was told he could not give Bible verse cards to his friends at lunch time. I am thankful for the spirit of the press conference and feel that the Lord blessed this opportunity for us to be salt and light in our community. I encourage my fellow pastors across the country to continue to stand for the freedom of religious expression in your community as well.

    My statement from June 7 Press conference:

    (If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)

    Before we share our concern we want to emphasize our appreciation to the teachers and workers of the Palmdale School district. You carry out a mission that we truly support. We pray for you and respect your mission.

    We appreciate the concern and ongoing investigation of Superintendent Maldonado as well as the district web statement affirming the district’s respect for religious liberty to the fullest extent of the law. I appreciate the good call I had with school board member Nancy Smith, as well as the school board’s commitment to transparency.

    We also want to emphatically state our support for the Sheriff’s department service to our community, and especially the excellence displayed by the deputy who was requested to visit the student’s home.

    I share the concerns of millions of Christians in America for the erosion of religious liberty in America. I am thankful for the Christian legal groups that stand to help in the moments when hostility toward our faith is expressed. But after watching coverage this morning and hearing the statements made about our deputies, I was deeply grieved by this mischaracterization of our Sheriff’s department. 

    Quote from US Congressman Steve Knight Letter this morning (Represents our 25th District):

    As a former LAPD officer I understand that law enforcement is often asked to intervene in difficult situations. I want to express my appreciation and support for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for the professional manner in which they handled this difficult situation. The deputies in the Antelope Valley are the finest in the county and perform their duties with honor and integrity. As the school board’s investigation moves forward, it is imperative that the constitutional rights of the student be upheld and protected. Free speech during non-instructional time should not be censored or prohibited. I hope this matter is handled carefully and with utmost regard to the Constitution.

    Our primary concern today is to stand for the religious liberty of a seven-year-old student of this school. Mr. and Mrs. Zavala placed their child in Desert Rose Elementary School in January, and Mrs. Zavala often included notes in her child’s lunch pail that included scripture references from the Bible. This spring the child shared his Bible notes with friends at his lunch time. The child’s mother was informed by a school employee that he could no longer share his notes with friends because of “separation of church and state.”

    There are several facets to this story, and we realize a school investigation is underway. Nevertheless, the Constitution clearly protects a child’s right to religious expression at his lunch time and other non-instructional time such as recess or after school. We are encouraged by a child who believes in the powerful truths of Jesus Christ and desires to share with friends. We are praying for the Zavalas as they endure this difficult time for their faith.

    If, in fact, this seven-year-old child was hindered from sharing his Bible verses and notes, we believe the staff involved need training regarding the educational codes and a reminder that we do not bully or demean students of faith.

    As faith and community leaders, we believe it is vital for people of all faiths, that the district provides assurances that the children’s constitutional rights are upheld.

    If, in fact, a student’s opportunity of religious expression at lunch time was discouraged, we request that an appropriate apology be made to the child and his parents for violation of his religious freedoms.

    As pastors, we will continue to pray for and support our public school personnel.  It is our prayer that good will come of this incident and that we can all work together for the betterment of the next generation.

  5. What If You Took It Personally? 

    June 6, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    Over the past thirty years of ministry here in Lancaster, we have attempted to reach our community for Christ in many ways—including billboards, television ads, promoted Facebook posts, radio programs, community newsletters, gospel-centered acts of community service, and more. And we’ve seen fruit through these methods.

    But of the hundreds of people saved and baptized in our church over the past twelve months (or any twelve month period), the single greatest tool for reaching them for Christ has been simple—a personal witness.

    Whether it be through door-to-door soulwinning, a coworker, or a follow-up visit, fruit comes when people personally take the gospel to the lost.

    I love the testimonies in this video because they underscore the value of personally sharing the gospel.

    (If you can’t see this video in your email or RSS reader, you can watch it here.)

    Think again of those three stories, and ask yourself what if? (more…)