Don Batten chats with powerlifter Brad Tuttle
Brad Tuttle started playing sports at an early age and he excelled. But he says he made a lot of stupid decisions in high school. He remarked, ‘The sad thing is that I knew nothing about what Jesus had done for me on the cross nor had anybody ever told me about His birth, life, crucifixion or Resurrection. I thought I was going to heaven because I was an American. Little did I know that heaven is a place the Bible says will be filled with those people who have believed upon and received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and Him alone, which we read in Romans 10:9–13.’
It seems strange that someone could grow up in the USA and not hear the Gospel message in his childhood, or at school. Brad commented, ‘I can honestly say that I never had anyone personally witness the Gospel message to me all through my childhood, high school, initial college years, and all the way through my military years, except for one person who did the day I was getting out of the Navy. If I was ever exposed to the Gospel in my childhood, at maybe a play or presentation of some sort, I have absolutely no remembrance of it at all.’
Weightlifting became a big thing for Brad, as he desired to become stronger for sports. Starting as a thin, lanky young man, he had to work hard to develop it. A girl goaded him into weight training when she told him, a high school freshman, that he was built like a girl. Brad: ‘I was determined to show her by getting bigger and stronger.’ Brad later won his very first powerlifting competition, which was the Ohio State Powerlifting Championships, held in Kent, Ohio.
However, Brad says of his sporting achievements: ‘The awards I received through playing sports, although they were awesome to achieve, didn’t do anything about the empty void in my life.’
Brad first heard about Jesus Christ and the Gospel the day he was getting out of the US Navy (he trained as a Navy Deep Sea Diver). A fellow Navy man who was passionate about reaching others for Christ witnessed to him for the first time. Brad says of this crucial moment in his life: ‘This guy wouldn’t leave me alone. He was on a “mission” to make sure I understood the Creation/Fall/Gospel message and what it meant. That’s the first time in my life I ever heard anybody speak of Jesus that way, as Saviour, Redeemer, God in the flesh, and that I was a sinner because of the Fall, and that Jesus came to bring a solution to that problem through His death, burial, and Resurrection.’ But it was not until five years later that the seed that was planted that day bore fruit in his life.
Overwhelmed by the love of God
Having been in a bar all night and seeing his life for what it was, Brad, 27 at the time, drove back to his apartment where, for three hours, he paced the floor. Overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and despair, he knelt beside his bed, and cried, ‘Jesus if you are really there, come into my life, forgive me of my sins, and be my Saviour and Lord.’
Instantly he found a freedom he had never experienced, and a love he had never known. Brad was radically saved that night. He was so overwhelmed by the love that God had shown him in Jesus dying for him that he immediately began to live all-out for Christ—out of sheer thankfulness to God. ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Brad began full-time ministry a few years later. His passion for sharing the love of God that had so impacted him led him to travel internationally, bringing a powerful, life-changing message of hope through Jesus Christ.
After coming to Christ, Brad won a weightlifting competition that gave him the title of Natural [no drugs] National Powerlifting Champion. He has also used his strength in international mission outreaches by incorporating feats of strength to draw people so he can preach the Gospel to them—many unchurched come along to listen. He has even lifted a 360 kg (800-pound) block of concrete off the floor (don’t try that!). Brad draws spiritual analogies from the feats of muscular strength:
- ‘I may be able to lift this but I was never and would never be strong enough to lift the weight of sin off of my own life.’
- ‘The strength feats never changed anybody’s life, but the message of the cross of Christ will change a life forever.’
- ‘He suffered as our substitute, with the damning record of our transgressions nailed by God to His cross! That, my friend, is real power, that is real strength, and that is a true world record.’
Brad’s unique ministry style has introduced hundreds of thousands of men, women, teenagers and children across North, South and Central America, Cuba, Great Britain, and Africa to the message of Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross.
Brad says of his message: ‘I want to make sure the message that I bring is biblically sound, contextual, and that it exegetically holds to the truths of the Word of God.’ He has studied hard, doing courses from conservative seminaries to improve his knowledge of the Bible to ensure that he is being true to its message. His latest achievement is a Doctor of Biblical Studies in Theology, D.B.S., from Master’s International School of Divinity in Indiana, which emphasizes creation apologetics.
In his evangelism (either through outreaches or personal witnessing), Dr Tuttle has found that evolution hinders people receiving the Gospel message, so he consistently preaches about Creation (6 literal days), original sin, and against evolution, laying the foundation for understanding how sin’s consequence is death and why Jesus died for us.
Brad: ‘I believe the real history in Genesis shows us man’s desperate need for salvation as we read of the Fall of man in Genesis 3 (if there was no literal Fall, then what is sin?). It’s what sets the groundwork for the New Testament’s teaching of God’s plan of redemption for man and His implementing of that plan (1 Corinthians 15:21–22). Being founded on the real history of Genesis then is a prerequisite for an understanding of God and His relationship to man.
‘Furthermore, when you undermine the truth (biblical authority) of six ordinary days with “geologic ages” you destroy the very foundation of the Gospel message because you put death, disease, thorns, and suffering before the Fall. This then brings in so much confusion because it opens the door to evolution! That just feeds the minds of young men and women that they are nothing more than just animals and that there is no real purpose and meaning to their life, which is not the truth.
‘Furthermore, it steals the young Christian person’s secure foundation of God’s Word, which robs them of their desire to believe it, follow it or take a firm stand for it.
‘To be a prepared Christian we must be properly armed for battle. Creation magazine has armed me with the understanding that the foundational aspects of the Gospel (Creation/original sin/the Fall) are a vital key to unlocking a powerful method of evangelism to reach the world for Christ. I have been better prepared to present the whole/true Gospel message, as well as being able to defend this Bible that I love so much, and teach it as I carry out pastoral duties at my church.’
Dr Tuttle cites Martin Luther as saying, ‘Where the battle rages is the loyalty of the soldier proved.’
Brad: ‘I believe today the battle is raging against the authority and reliability of the Word of God. And those in the battle who are against God’s Word start their attack at the foundation, the book of Genesis. It’s time for true believers to rise up with the loyalty of a soldier and not back down and not be afraid to take a stand for the Bible. Jesus didn’t back down for us! We need to be affirming that our Christian faith is based on fact not fiction.’
Brad concludes, ‘It’s time for true believers to take their stand, and be prepared to engage. God is looking for some loyal soldiers.’
Dr Brad Tuttle is an evangelist and pastor who lives in Texas, USA. He and his wife Jana recently started a new church plant, The Harvest Church International, in Frisco, Texas.