The Wire

  • 16-year-old murder suspect admits setting fire that killed mother, records state

    Excerpt from AL.com:

    Nicholas Lamons is charged in his mother’s fire death.

    A teen murder suspect admitted setting the Morgan County fire that killed his mother and sent two others to the hospital, court records state.

    Nicholas Lamons, 16, is charged in the Tuesday-morning fire death of his mother, 32-year-old Kimberly Lamons, at their Alabama 67 home in the Joppa area.

    “Nicholas was located a short time later asleep in the van in Somerville,” Investigator Jeff Reynolds wrote in an arrest affidavit. “Nicholas was questioned and admitted that he had started a fire in his bedroom prior to leaving the residence. Nicholas also stated that he came back by the house a short time later and saw the trailer burning but did not make an effort to notify anyone.”

  • Moore slams Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize in fundraising email

    Excerpt from Associated Press:

    Former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama is trying to raise money by pointing to the Pulitzer Prize that The Washington Post won for its investigation of him.

    In a Friday fundraising email to supporters, Moore’s legal defense fund, said The Post won for “lies and slander.” The email sent by the Moore for U.S. Senate Legal Defense Fund then asked for people to help replenish his legal fund.

    The Post won a Pulitzer for investigative reporting for its stories revealing allegations that Moore pursued teenage girls sexually decades ago while he was in his 30s. Moore denied any misconduct.

  • Birmingham considering another Democratic National Convention bid

    Excerpt from WBRC:

    Birmingham is going after another Democratic National Convention, but the city says this time the committee asked to make a pitch.

    Last month, the Democratic National Committee reached out to Mayor Randall Woodfin about the city applying to host the 2020 convention.

    In a statement to WBRC, Mayor Woodfin says he’s considering applying.

    “We are very excited that the Democratic National Committee has recognized the City of Birmingham as an attractive, possible site for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Such recognition shows how much progress our city is making when we receive these kinds of unsolicited invitations,” Woodfin said.

Paul Ryan is understandably ‘bone-tired’ — but I do wish he could stay

(Speaker P. Ryan/FB)

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

WHY IS SPEAKER RYAN STEPPING DOWN: PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, Paul Ryan decided he would call it quits and that he would not run for reelection — he would step down as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I want to take you to two articles. One, out of The Christian Post, which really dealt with the personal reasons Ryan said he was leaving, that being he said, “My kids aren’t getting any younger. If I stay, they’ll only know me as a weekend dad.” His children were all born after he was elected to Congress and now they’re teenagers.

The Politico story took a little bit of a different slant, saying that the 48-year-old Paul Ryan said the thing that bothers him most in today’s political climate is identity politics.

DR. REEDER: I will confess, while not always agreeing with Speaker Ryan, I have been an admirer and been grateful for his presence there and I am sad to see him leave. Of course, he’s, first of all, more than anything else a husband and a father. His children were born after he was elected and they’re now up into his teenage years. I’m grateful that he has made the commitment and has stuck to it to go home on the weekend and has done so — did not get a place to live and stay in Washington, went back every weekend.

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Secondly, of course, there are some reasons in terms of the political landscape. Paul Ryan said he is “bone-tired” of dealing with — what he called — identity politics and that is playing out

WHAT IS THE TONE OF THE NATION AND GOVERNMENT HE IS LEAVING BEHIND?

Clearly, there are two movements taking place right now, not only in our nation but internationally. One is the incessant movement toward the sovereignty of the state in socialism that, initially, embraces the sovereignty of the state as the messiah and deliverer of the culture, but has an incessant drumbeat of a globalist view.

And so, this globalist movement, in the corporate world and in the political world, is being met by a reactionary nationalist movement. We’re seeing the nationalist movement in Britain in the Brexit vote, we see it in Scotland in the continued votes for their independence and I think you saw it in the election of President Trump, which was a similar Populist movement. And neither sees compromise with the other as either desirable or permissible.

SPEAKER RYAN, YOU ARE RIGHT THAT SOMETHING HAS BEEN LOST

What I would say to Speaker Ryan is that underneath that has been the loss of a consensus of what makes American culture and the values that you would embrace, by which all movements would have been filtered, read and addressed. And we have lost that undergirding prism through which you look at these movements and address the movements and to which the various proponents of the movements would come together because of a greater ideal in the agreed virtues and values of the nation.

Because that’s been lost, now these two movements, the Populist movement which seems to be taking over the Republican Party and the tactics of pragmatism — no longer any sense of virtue in the leaders, no longer any sense of virtue in the tactics — but pragmatism in the ends justify the means.

And then, on the other side, of course, is the incessant movement to the globalist position and promoting socialism as the religion of the day. The cultural elite have embraced it and they want to eradicate anything that stands against it and, certainly, Christianity, which says that the state and the economic system is not the messiah — there is a Messiah and that’s the One who went to the cross to die for our sins and would change our lives.

Now, from that foundation, let’s debate what is good public policy. Christians need to think their way through this because, on the one hand, I hear Christians say, “Well, President Trump, look at the Supreme Court justice, look at the deregulation.” There is a gratefulness for policy and legislative and deregulation initiatives that would be in line with a Christian world and life view.

COMPROMISE IN THE ELECTION DOES NOT MEAN COMPROMISE ALWAYS

And then many evangelical Christians are almost making the bargain, “Well, since you’re doing that, we will be silent about tactics that are not only distasteful but wrong.” You can argue that an evangelical was put between a rock and a hard place in terms of the last election: “Do I vote for Trump with all of my concerns about tactics, and character, and marriage, etc. or do I vote for Hillary Clinton who is going to take tax money and embed the genocide of the unborn — moves forward with infanticide and has declared the support of infanticide — and then moves forward to active euthanasia, and is a globalist, and is a socialist and is moving even further left on all those? How can I possibly vote for someone who is going to murder the unborn?”

Okay, you can understand that sense, but what the evangelical can’t do is make a bargain that means I’ll be quiet on the verbal sins and moral sins, lest those, unconfronted, now become embedded within the culture.

That’s what Paul Ryan is faced with. He’s bone-tired of dealing with it, so he’s going to go home and work on his family, work within his state, but here’s what we have to understand. We look at a guy like Paul Ryan as an emotional casualty to this. Politically, he was able to be reelected and his seat was not in jeopardy, but he’s just tired. He didn’t even want to be the Speaker — he was drafted to be the Speaker — and I think he knew that this day was coming if he became the Speaker and it has come and so he’s stepping down.

I simply say, “I wish you could stay in.” I think he brings a certain demeanor and a certain understanding that tactics must match the noble ends of policy and that the end does not justify the means — the means must be appropriate to the end that’s desired.

THIS POLARIZATION IS INDICATIVE OF CULTURE SHIFT

Politicians and politics affect our culture, but what you need to understand even more is that politicians elected and every election is a reflection of the culture. Take a look at who we’re losing from the offices and who are going into the offices and realize that, once a person is elected, we have a responsibility to appropriately support them. When they declare good legislation and policies, let’s support it and, when they use wrong tactics, we must oppose those tactics. You can support the policy but oppose the tactics.

And whenever there is the attempt to normalize immorality in any form — whether it’s verbal, sexual, emotional, whatever form of embracing that which stands against God’s gracious commandments, we must not be silent. And, when we have politicians who attempt to enact both policy and use appropriate tactics at the same time, we cannot become pragmatists.

The Republican Party is moving in a Populist direction and increasingly embracing pragmatism — “If you get the policies in, we’ll wink at the tactics and lifestyle that you are embracing” — and the Democratic Party is clearly going left, and embracing the culture of death, and embracing policies of death and embracing the sovereignty of the state, in particular, and a globalist position corporately and politically, in general. That is leading the nation, those two parties.

CHRISTIANS MUST PROVIDE A GODLY AND MEASURED PERSPECTIVE IN POLITICS

Somewhere, there has to be the voices of those who say, “We want good policy, but we want it brought forward in a virtuous manner and we are appreciative of and embrace the nation state, the ethnos as declared in the Bible. We embrace it by, first of all, bringing the Gospel to every nation and we reject the policies of death, we embrace policies of life and we demand that those who produce the policies of life produce them in a way that honors the virtues of life as affirmed by God’s creation law and in His revealed law.

Therefore, with a Gospel movement of the hearts and lives of men and women from the grassroots up and electing officials who bring beneficial public policy in a manner that is honorable, then we could see a liberty under law because a nation is seeking the providential blessings of God.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Why the Syrian strike was justified

(CBS Evening News/YouTube)

Listen to the 10 min audio

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DONALD TRUMP TIES HIS SYRIAN ACTION TO PAST PRESIDENTS AND ACTIONS

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, last Saturday morning, we all awoke to the news that the U.S. had led an attack on alleged Syrian chemical weapon facilities. Harry, the big question now is what’s next? Where do we go from here?

DR. REEDER: Well, it was interesting to hear the administration’s comment. It seemed like they were intentionally hearkening back to the two previous presidential administrations. First, as it was stated, this is a president who when he draws a red line and says there will be consequences, does inflict those consequences and then, secondly, after it was done, President Trump said “Mission accomplished.”

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And those two phrases are so embedded now into the media culture. “Yes, if I do draw a red line, there will be consequences and this is an example. In other words, I’m not going to say there’s a red line and there’ll be consequences and then erase the line and have no consequences when the line had been crossed.”

And then, secondly, “Mission accomplished,” may have been a way to say, “Actually, this was the mission. I don’t have a mission beyond this. The mission was to take out the three chemical factories and the mission’s now accomplished by Great Britain, France and the United States.”

WHY DID WE GET INVOLVED IN DOMESTIC ISSUES IN SYRIA?

Many are responding negatively, “This is a sovereign nation and we don’t have a right to do this. American interests are not at stake.” Well, I would say to my Christian friends who say this on this issue that is an echo of the 1930s. You have Adolf Hitler invading Poland, literally cleansing away Polish resistance and declaring that his troops were authorized to kill women, children and civilians, which they did by the thousands. And then, of course, there was the appeasement to Chamberlain and the statement, “We can’t intervene on such war crimes.”

Chemical weapons are actually agreed as war crimes, the use of them. All the countries have signed off that they are not to be used and almost all countries have destroyed them, at least the known chemical that they had developed.

Even as we are doing this program, we are being informed that there is an agency going in that is equipped to determine whether chemical warfare was used. And, in particular, this infliction of chemical agents — probably chlorine gas — was dropped by barrel drums from airplanes that fell into the Syrian city, taking out hundreds of lives and casualties and the documentation of the films that were observed had all of the evidences of chlorine gas.

NO U.N. ACTION MEANT SOMEONE HAD TO ACT

And so the question is why hasn’t the UN acted? And, interestingly, after the attack, Russia brought forth a resolution condemning France, England and the United States. It failed, as it had to fail, because guess who is on the executive council that has the power of veto: France, England and the United States. And, of course, the United States has brought resolutions condemning Syria’s use of chemical warfare but guess who sits on that same council — Russia — and Russia and China have vetoed those because, in reality, Syria as it has been — before Russia there was the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union established Assad’s father and the Soviet Union continues to prop it up along with Iran. Therefore, Russia and Iran are the patron states behind Syria and maintaining Assad’s authority and power within Syria.

THIS WAS A SAFE AND STRUCTURED ATTACK

However, I read of people saying, “Hey, this is not something that we should be involved in.” I believe it is something that we should be involved in and I actually think this was appropriate. It was a measured strike. Clearly, they had made communications to remove human life from those sites — the Russians, obviously, were not there so they experienced no casualties, although they occupied places throughout the country in propping up Syria — and there were no human casualties so that means if you destroyed plants and there are no human casualties that meant some kind of advanced warning was likely given.

And so, what the United States did was, with pinpoint accuracy, took out those plants that manufacture chemicals. Why didn’t we destroy those plants if we knew they were there? I think it was appropriate. We can’t tell people what industries they can have — because chemicals have multiple uses — but, once they showed the usage of the atrocity of a war crime in gassing their own people with a genocidal assault, then to respond in such a manner, given the paralysis of the United Nations, by punishing what are agreed to be war crimes.

BELIEVERS, HUMANS ARE AT RISK, EVEN POTENTIALLY US

For those who say to me — particularly believers I’ve talked to — “We shouldn’t do that,” well, how course can our consciences be that we can see women and children foaming at the mouth and we will not stop a dictator? I’m not talking about going in and changing regime, just going in and telling them, “We’re not going to take over your country, but you cannot do what are agreed war crimes. You cannot gas your own people or any other people.”

And, by the way, if he can gas them, all he’s got to do is put it in a plane and fly it another hundred miles and now he’s over Israel and now he’s over Jordan — all of those countries that are around him. The patron states of Russia and Iran through Syria then take that chemical warfare to other nations.

WE CANNOT STAY SILENT ON WAR BUT MUST BE CLEAR AND CONSISTENT

However, whether they do that or not, the fact that it’s done to his own people, we cannot say, “Well, that’s a matter of internal politics.” No, it’s not a matter of internal politics — that’s a war crime. That is evil. That is evil and there’s two ways that you stop evil. One is the Gospel of saving grace in Jesus Christ that changes the heart whereby evil originates and changes men and women. Therefore, let’s send missionaries into Syria, which we are doing. Some of our own people from Briarwood have recently been there and I know we have been there and I know of some very special things that are being done that I cannot publicize on this program to bring the Gospel into Syria.

Secondly, there needs to be an external public policy that says, “Here is a red line: You cannot commit war crimes upon your people and kill women and children with gas. That will not be allowed.”
What did they do? They took out the factories that would produce those chemical agents. And to stand against it to me is no different than the confessing church in Europe and in Germany that knew what Hitler was doing in the cleansing of the Jews and then did not say anything but were silent because they were allowed to function.

And people have said, if we do this, Assad will bring warfare against Christians. Assad’s already bringing warfare against Christians and his statement that he allows Christians there is no different than Hitler telling the confessing church in Germany, “Just trust me and don’t worry, you can entrust the presence and security of your church to me.”

No, we don’t do that and we want to speak the public policy and, if necessary, evil has to be confronted. We don’t want it to have to be confronted with warfare acts, but when chemical warfare is present, chemical warfare must be stopped.

DON’T STOP WITH POLITICAL ACTION; BRING GOSPEL ACTION

And then we, of course, bring the Gospel to the hearts of those who would use chemical warfare as a tactic but we also bring force against evil that it is not allowed to move with impunity. We do it constantly in our own country. We go into a neighborhood and will plan a church to bring the Gospel to the hearts of men and women.

We also put policemen on every corner saying, “You cannot do what is criminal.” Well, we have agreed chemical warfare is criminal. Therefore, you cannot do it. We don’t want to be the world’s policeman, but those who have signed onto the reality that chemical warfare is a war crime must punish the crime if it is used with impunity against men, women and children.  

Therefore, I believe that it was an appropriate response, it was a declared mission — “We’re taking out the factories” — therefore, the mission was accomplished. Now, are there other factories? I don’t have the slightest idea. Will he use it again? I don’t know, but he at least will think twice and that, to some degree, will be beneficial for women and children within Syria.

COMING UP: PAUL RYAN’S DECISION TO LEAVE CONGRESS

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of “Today in Perspective,” I want to take you to a Politico article, “Why Paul Ryan Has Called It Quits”.

DR. REEDER: Let me confess, I happen to be a Paul Ryan fan, but I’m going to try to do this dispassionately because his stated reasons, both publicly and privately, give us some insights that we need to examine concerning the political landscape in our country at the moment, its toxic nature and the opportunities that still remain. We’ll deal with that on Friday’s edition of “Today in Perspective”.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Christian colleges: Will you fold under cultural pressures or actually BE what you say you are?

(Pixabay)

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CHRISTIAN COLLEGES STRUGGLING TO MAINTAIN CHRISTIAN CODES

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, NPR ran an in-depth story recently, “Christian Colleges Are Tangled in Their Own LGBT Policies.” The article goes on to say, “Conservative Christian colleges, once relatively insulated from the culture war, are increasingly entangled in the same battles over LGBT rights and related social issues that have divided other institutions in America.

Students and faculties at many religious institutions are asked to accept a faith statement outlining the school’s views on such matters as evangelical doctrine, Scriptural interpretation and human sexuality. Those statements also include a rejection of homosexual activity and a definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

Mary Hulst, senior chaplain at Calvin College says, “You’ve got these two values. We love our LGBT people, we love our church of Jesus Christ, we love the Scripture, so those of us who do this work are right in the middle of that space. We’re living in the tension.”

DR. REEDER: You can see immediately the world and life view and perspective of the reporter and the article and those who are engaged in the interviewing process, even by the phrase that “Christian Colleges are Entangled.” Well, actually, they are being entangled. They were just going along as normal with a Biblical doctrine of sexuality and marriage. Marriage is one man, one woman, one life, with heterosexuality within marriage, monogamous — the Bible doesn’t change even though culture is visibly changing itself into chaos by redefining marriage and by the sexual revolution.

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WHAT SHOULD SCHOOLS DO?

Therefore, what do Christian colleges do? First of all, you have the cultural elite motivated in compliance with and complicit with the LGBTQ agenda. They want to impose that upon Christian colleges so they will use phrases like this: “You’re going to be on the wrong side of history. If you don’t get on-board with redefining marriage as same-sex and affirming homosexuality as normal, if you don’t do that, you’re going to be on the wrong side of history.”

The Christian colleges they have leverage upon are those who are receiving whatever kind of aid from the federal government. At the moment, the present administration has removed the pressure that had been placed upon them in the previous administration.

However, of course, you don’t know what administration is coming and it’s more than likely that these same pressures are going to come that, “If you don’t affirm, embrace and allow, for instance, transgender definition of self-identification of gender — what bathroom, or facility or sports team you play on — if you do not affirm same-sex marriage, if you do not affirm same-sex sexuality, then the federal programs which you participate in can and will be removed and we will remove them if you don’t change your positions in your handbook and your practices.”

Now the Christian college is going to have to make a decision: Do we want to be politically correct, do we want to be on the “right side of history” or do we want to be theologically correct and be on the right side of the Word of God and God, Himself, in terms of what he has declared.

TWISTING THE BIBLE TO FIT THEIR PURPOSES

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, let me give you a quote from Brad Harper, who is a professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Multnomah University. He says, “Millennials are looking at the issue of gay marriage and, more and more, they’re saying, ‘Okay, we know the Bible talks about this, but we just don’t see it as an essential of the faith.’”

DR. REEDER: Right. What you see now is things that are being promoted like the Tony Campolo movement of “The Red-Letter Revival” — those Bibles that put the words of Jesus in red letters. What he’s saying is, “See how gracious Jesus is? Don’t be like Moses. Don’t be like Paul. We need to have Jesus Christ correct Moses and Paul.”

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SEXUALITY?

Well, first of all, in the Bible, the Bible is never contradictory. Jesus doesn’t correct — in fact, Jesus is the One, by His Spirit, who led Moses to write what he wrote, and Paul to write what he wrote, and Luke to write what he wrote and Peter to write what he wrote because the Author of all the authors is the Holy Spirit and it’s non-contradictory. What the authors are doing are not correcting each other, but they’re complementing each other.

And then, secondly, you probably, Mr. Campolo, do not want to read very closely those “red letter words” of Jesus. If you want to do a Red-Letter Bible, everything in the Bible ought to have the red letters, but if you’re just identifying the direct quotes of Jesus, you’ll notice that, first of all, He gave more information on the doctrine of Hell than anybody else. In fact, two-thirds of the information on the doctrine of Hell is given by Jesus.

If you want to go to Jesus, then you can just pick up, for instance, in Mark 10: “But you do not know the Scriptures, for from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.” Well, there we are. God made them male and female. God made marriage because He goes on to quote from Genesis, “For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one,” so he affirms sexuality within marriage, He affirms a heterosexual marriage, a covenantal marriage, a conjugal marriage, a procreative marriage and, therefore, same-sex could never be accommodate by “the words of Jesus”.

PRESSURE IS MOUNTING FOR COLLEGES TO APOSTATIZE

Where we are are these apostate theologians, the colleges: “You must apostatize. It’s more important for you to get the approval of the government, and the money of the government, and the approval of the culture and the applause of the culture than it is to be faithful to God, Himself.”

Hear this very clearly and very pointedly from a Christian world and life view: If these colleges, in order to maintain the money and to maintain the freedoms of the culture that they offer to you, if they decide to apostatize from the Word of God — redefine sexuality, redefine marriage and find a way to accomplish that — if they so vacillate, if they so apostatize, then they are no longer a Christian college. You can’t be a Christian college and sacrifice the supremacy, the sovereignty and the sufficiency of the Word of God in terms of what we believe and how we practice.

The colleges that will most likely withstand the challenge are those that are under a local church or under a faithful evangelical denomination — they will be the ones that most likely will stand. If someone from a Christian college came to me right now, I would say, “You need to take advantage of this present administration backing off on the assault upon what you believe and what you do and use that period of time to go out with your Development Office and your fundraising and your friend building and get the support you need for your college so that you are not dependent upon the government. If you’re dependent upon the government, you’re going to be tempted to compromise.”

STUDENTS HAVE REDEFINED THEIR IDEA OF CHRISTIANITY AND WANT TO LEGITIMIZE IT

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, let me give you a quote from a student, Sam Koster, who is a junior at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He identifies as queer. He says in this article, “When I realize that my faith wasn’t necessarily about the Christian Reformed church and it wasn’t even necessarily about the Bible, but about my relationship with God and that God is all-compassing and loving, I felt very free.”

DR. REEDER: When you hear that from a student that’s in a Christian college, you know that Christian college has already failed in its job because no thinking Christian could ever say, “I don’t need the Bible.”

How do you know you need to be saved by Jesus without the Bible? How do you know who Jesus is and that He is a sufficient Savior without the Bible? How do you know who God is without the Bible? The Creation reveals God is Creator, but it does not reveal God in Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — because the Bible tells you that.

Therefore, you can’t be a Christian without the Bible and Christ’s church is not just a little addendum for the Christian — it is, as John Calvin said, “the womb established by the Lord to nurture believers as they grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.” You can’t have your relationship with God without the Bible. You can’t grow in your relationship with God without the Bible.

The Bible consistently condemns any sexual activity, whether it’s heterosexual promiscuity or homosexual perversion, it condemns it continually. He calls those “clobber passages” — don’t bring those passages to clobber me. The Word of God that brings the passages to clobber sin also tells you of the Savior who was clobbered under the righteous judgement of God so that you could miss any and all of that judgement because of Jesus Christ, Who will take you to glory in Heaven. And where do you find all of that out? You find it in the Bible.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Transgender chaos playing out as predicted

(YHN)

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A YEAR LATER: HOW HAVE TRANSGENDER “ACCOMMODATIONS” PLAYED OUT?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, it was about a year ago that we talked about the Target retail stores and how they had made a decision to allow transgenders to use the bathrooms of their choice. There was a public outcry, however, Target decided that was the right thing to do.

Recently, in Chicago, a self-identified transgender male entered a ladies’ room. There was a little girl in the store and, unfortunately, what we warned might happen did, in fact, happen. Now, I’m happy to say the girl was not physically harmed but, unfortunately, she found herself in a predicament that will probably leave a scar on her for the rest of her life.

DR. REEDER: The point in the discussion previously, Tom, that we had was not that every person dealing with gender confusion would have such motivations and desires, but our point was the policy is exactly what opens the door for that and loses modesty, security, and privacy. Actually, this is the second time this has happened in a Target store since that policy has been enacted.

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Interestingly, these regulations are not coming from the federal government under the Trump administration, but they are coming on state-levels and local levels. In fact, in Anchorage, there was an attempt to restore privacy, and security, and safety and modesty to public facilities.

STATES ARE NOW HAVING TO PROPOSE LAWS

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Indeed. Nearly 53 percent of the voters in Anchorage cast their ballots against Proposition 1, which was proposed by a non-profit Christian policy group, Alaska Family Action, that would have meant biological males use the men’s room and biological females use the ladies’ room. That failed.

DR. REEDER: That’s not a Target or a private company that has embraced the policy, but that was a public vote on the issue. And it was narrow, but they turned it down so now whatever happens in those public facilities in Anchorage, Alaska, the voting population of Alaska has to bear responsibility for it.

However, Tom, it’s not just simply a matter of security, as important as that is. It’s also a matter of clarity. It’s a matter of chaos that is being introduced. It’s a matter of loopholes. We are constantly filtering stories that are coming to us of males who say, “I identify as a female,” and go out and win what historically would have been a female track event. We even have this whole issue that was recently publicized of the Iranian soccer team.

IRANIAN WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM HAS 8 TRANSGENDER MEN ON IT

TOM LAMPRECHT: The Daily Wire reported the Iranian women’s soccer team has found a loophole and, instead of comprising a team of actual women, they have added eight full-grown men who claim they are transgender and awaiting sex changes.

DR. REEDER: Interestingly, the country with the largest number of existing are those waiting in line for sex change operations is Iran. In a Muslim country, if you are a homosexual, there is a public penalty of death. Those executions are carried out in various Muslim countries under Shariah Law.

Interestingly, Iran does allow sex change operations so what many of them are doing is not actually getting the sex change operation but declaring their desire for the sex change operation and declaring that what they actually are is transgender.

By doing that, they escape the specter of the death penalty, but most of them are not carrying it out. Yet, a number of them are “athletes” or a number of them claim a transgender identity in order to compete in the arena of female athletics as males and just intentionally are making these claims which, of course, again, that’s something that in previous programs we said would happen.

ANOTHER DESTRUCTIVE CONSEQUENCE OF GENDER THEORY

Therefore, just as there is the consequence of the loss of privacy, modesty, security and safety in bathrooms, in the transgender ideology of the sovereign self — “I can be what I want to be and whatever I want to be is what I actually am. Not what I am is what I am, but what I declare myself to be, the self-identity of my gender” — the fact is that positions them with certain physical advantages in the field of competition and sports.

Now you’ve got an Iranian women’s soccer team that now has a majority of men who are actually playing as women because they self-identify as women. Some of them are on a list for a sex-change operation that, in reality, they’re not going to get.

Thus, you see the chaos and the confusion. Now, my prediction is, to deal with that, you’ll ultimately just have to remove any male and female distinctions in the arena of sports and you just have a team and everybody has to compete.

Therefore, Title IX, you can forget that because now women will be back into the situation where they cannot have protection to have equal resources for female competition that males have because any male can identify as a female and, even if it’s just three or four or five or whatever, you have, by chaos, transformed the landscape of competition.

And, thus, again, you have relegated women who identify as women and they are women into a position where they will not be able to compete on a level playing field because now men have access to their playing field, whatever the sport might be, if they simply identify as a woman.

IRONY: WHAT WAS ONCE RIDICULOUS IS NOW REALITY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, how times have changed in just a generation. It was in 1959 that the movie “Some Like It Hot” came out with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon in which Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon dressed up as women to be a part of an all-women’s orchestra. It was a comedy that everyone thought was just hilarious and ridiculous.

DR. REEDER: And comedy, instead of a parody, becomes a prognosticator of future life. Sin, ultimately, is idolatry and that is the exaltation of the sovereign self instead of surrender to the sovereign God. There is a God who made us and this God made us for His glory and our joy is in living as he has made us.

Now, you can’t do that without coming to Christ, who will liberate us from a sin nature that declares the sovereignty of myself over the sovereignty of God. Now men and women sovereignly say to a sovereign God, “You made us like this, but we declare that we are this and so we will live as we sovereignly declare ourselves to live. And there is no such thing as objective truth to tell me I’m wrong — I can do what is right in my own eyes.”

SIN IS NOT NEW AND IT NEVER MAKES SENSE

None of this is new. It traces all the way back to the Garden. It traces all the way back to the Judges where, repeatedly, it says that they did what was right in their own eyes. It also traces back to the fact that sin produces death — the death of sports organizations, the death of competition, physical death, spiritual death. Sin always brings death and sin always brings confusion.

The reality is you can’t be on the field of life to play in the field of life if you take away the boundaries that God has established. Imagine going to play a football game in which there are no sidelines. What we’re telling God is, “Your boundary lines are not ours. We will worship and serve the creature and we will declare as null and void all of your distinctions that you have established. We will declare ourselves sovereign over those.”

The result: death and confusion. When a husband or a wife walks out of a marriage and the one who is the victim, having experienced the brokenness that comes when someone walks away from the marriage, looks at me and says, “Pastor, can you help me understand why they did what they did?” and my answer is always, “I can tell you what they are saying and I can tell you what influenced them, but I can’t help you understand because sin never is understandable. It never makes sense and it’s always destructive and it is always chaotic.”

SENSIBLE POLICY IS GOOD, BUT NOT THE GOOD NEWS

And what we are doing, telling God, “We will not be what you made us to be,” doesn’t make sense. It not only brings death and life, it also brings the death of hopes and dreams and it brings the death of order within life and now has introduced chaos and meaninglessness within a society as it descends into a neopaganism where humanity worships and serves itself.

However, there is an antidote to this and the antidote is not simply sensible public policy based upon creation law. It is also the glorious surrender to a proclamation of Good News that Jesus Christ can liberate us from our sins, not only the shame of them and not only the guilt of them, but the power of them so that, with great joy, we can be who he made us to be for His Glory. And, in that, comes an escalating joy that is glorious and I pray that, again, that would abound within our society.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Does Facebook smoosh conservative posts? YES. But regulation is not the answer

(W.Miller/YHN)

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ZUCKERBERG TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you back to last week when Mark Zuckerberg, who is the founder and head of Facebook testified before members of the Senate on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he went before the House of Representatives.

There were several issues that were focused upon: the privacy issue, the censorship issue and whether or not there’s a monopoly in Facebook.  

DR. REEDER: Tom, this is obviously a story for multiple reasons. By the way, it seems as if our culture thinks it’s a story because the televised hearings where Mr. Zuckerberg was called to testify have had an astounding viewership.

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WHY A HEARING? WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE?

Let’s remember that these hearings are valid. Congress has hearings because, historically, they were for the purpose of identifying issues or movements or situations in which they needed to examine to see if that affects public policy.

But now, with the presence of the media and their being televised, these hearings have taken on a new dynamic and, instead of what used to be pretty much a closed-door event in which they would ask questions to find out from the witness the information they want, now you can note very clearly that each of the Congressmen and women are vying to see who can make the best speech. Then, “Can I ask the question that is the true gotcha question so I will make the evening headline focus?” And, therefore, the benefit of these hearings gets lost.

We also begin to see Mr. Zuckerberg do what many do in these positions and what he has done, historically, whenever Facebook has been caught in a situation that is questionable or even illegal in what they are doing in order to enhance participation and number of users in Facebook. In fact, there’s a memo out there that actually says the No. 1 objective that you have as an employee of Facebook is to multiply viewers. It is not to protect the identity and information of the users, but to multiply users, even if it means that you expose some of their data, that’s an unwanted but may be a necessary casualty.

FACEBOOK HAS HISTORY OF EVASION OF WRONGDOING

Historically, he’s always said, “That was wrong. We’re going to put in new policies,” and does a mea culpa and then everything goes on and nothing really changes that much. This one seems to be a little bit different as he realizes that people may have a concern for stolen identity and people having access to their messages, to their data that they don’t want. You’re getting all kind of advertisements that clearly somebody has access to something you’ve communicated that you had no idea that they would have access to it.

And so now it’s should we regulate this and what should be the policies to regulate it? And the argument is, “Well, Facebook is a monopoly. They don’t really have a competitor.” The argument back to regulation is, “Hey, you don’t have to participate in Facebook. If you don’t want to, then don’t participate in Facebook. This is a matter of free speech, this is a matter of free enterprise and of the capitalistic system. They’re providing a service and you have to make a determination, ‘Am I willing to embrace their policies of operation? Am I willing to lose some of my security of my data that I put on Facebook, knowing that people are going to have access to it? Why should the government regulate what ought to be just the free exercise of business?’”

Well, the pushback is, “Well, they’re a monopoly.” Well, they don’t have to be a monopoly. It’s not like a utility that you can’t multiply infrastructure of utilities in a city and you’ve only got one and, therefore, it needs to be governed because the monopoly could have runaway costs so you don’t have a choice and you have no competition.

TIME FOR COMPETITION TO EMERGE, WITHOUT REGULATIONS

That’s not the case in Facebook. I would argue that you can have competition. To me, it’s very much like the news outlets going progressive/liberal/untrustworthy and then up comes Fox News and their mantra became “Fair and Balanced” — we show both sides. Now, I’m not arguing that they do or they don’t, but they came up and, all of a sudden, all of these so-called news outlets, the Big 3, before long, became the Shrinking 3 because of competition.

Well, I would suggest that the same thing can happen with Facebook, is that you can have competition. What I think the government does is make sure that competition is invited and make sure that those who would want to challenge it have an avenue to challenge it. That’s what I think ought to happen, not the regulation of Facebook and the reason why is because it’s just a matter of time if they regulate that, what else can they regulate in terms of free speech and free enterprise? And I believe that the marketplace is the best corrector of these practices.

Therefore, Tom, I think that’s the perspective that at least needs to be in the mind of those from a Christian world and life view. Now here’s the problem, Tom. Facebook, like most monopolies, when they begin to control something, what is clear is not only have they been careless with the security of their participants, but they have also governed the content of what they allow, and what they favor and what they promote in terms of communication on Facebook.

And they clearly have embraced liberal causes — I think it’s been documented that almost every single one of the leadership positions in Facebook have those who have demonstrated both by their donations and their public record a propensity toward the Progressive agenda, the Democratic Party and liberalism, specifically, and so that’s showing up in terms of how they are controlling the flow of information.

CONSERVATIVES, DON’T GET BEAT AT YOUR OWN GAME

The very group that ought to be protecting liberty of speech and free practice of business — the conservatives — tend to want to limit and govern and use regulations on Facebook because the conservative positions are those that are being isolated and marginalized by Facebook. I would just tell my conservative friends, from a Christian world and life view, you do not want to give up something that you’ve historically held to and that is free enterprise and free speech.

You do not want to impose regulations upon them. What you should do is promote competition with them because, once you set in place regulations to regulate Facebook, then those same regulations can be used to regulate you at a later date. You always have to look at the identification of a problem and realize the cure can produce a much bigger problem.

If the cure on Facebook’s careless practices and policies that tilt to the left are embraced by conservatives, then what you have done is betray your own conservative ideology. Trying to come at it from a Christian world and life view, I believe that liberty governed by essential law is the best route and what I think the government should do is simply enforce its present laws to protect the privacy and security of Facebook users, but not attempt to create new laws to regulate the content of Facebook — that ought to be a matter of competition in the marketplace.

SOCIAL MEDIA SERVES TO SPREAD GOSPEL THROUGH FREE SPEECH

And one of the reasons this is important to me, I am not a Facebook fan but I am on it because, for me, it’s one more means of communication and I certainly want access to be able to share Biblical truth and Gospel perspectives on Facebook or Twitter or any of these social media but I know that my avenue is not to regulate them to allow me to do speech over their privately owned business, one that other people could start a similar business because of accessibility to the internet and I don’t want them to be regulated.

I want to use them, but I’ve got to realize the cost of using them and be willing to pay that price. And then, if they want to regulate what I say, then what I would like is competition and that there would be other avenues to say it.

Therefore, Tom, I always love free speech and freedom to practice your business because I am grateful for my freedom to speak the truth of the Gospel and get the Good News out over any source that’s available. And I love the freedom for people to be able to create new media outlets without governmental overreach.

COMING UP TUESDAY: THE TRANSGENDER EFFECT CONTINUES

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to revisit the transgender issue. There are a number of arenas in which this transgender issue is rearing its ugly head, including public policy and sports.

DR. REEDER: Very similar to today’s program — you have again, in the drive to the left, you have not only the issues of privacy, security and safety, but you also have the issue of chaos in the various arenas of life in which there is no clarity, no certainty and no boundaries and, as everyone knows, without boundaries, there is no playing field.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

What Toys ‘R Us, colleges, and social security have in common

(W.Miller/YHN)

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TOYS ‘R US ANNOUNCES CLOSING OF STORES — WHY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, an institution for kids, Toys ‘R Us, that sprouted off another business called Babies ‘R Us, was 800 stores wide across America and it was recently reported by a number of media outlets that it is now shutting down. Harry, is this the internet taking over or is there another story behind this?

DR. REEDER: Babies ‘R Us because babies are rare. Toys ‘R Us shutting down because toys aren’t needed since babies are rare. And why are babies rare? It’s called the industry of abortion, protected, propagated, perpetuated, tax-funded now and the most prolific purveyors of abortion, Planned Parenthood, were included in the last spending bill of our Congress.

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IS THIS A CONSEQUENCE OF SEXUAL REVOLUTION?

We have made a comment a number of times from a Christian world and life view and that’s this: You cannot break God’s law without God’s law breaking you. If you insist on sexual immorality — its practice and the attempt to normalize it — you can’t normalize it and it’ll break you physically, it’ll break you emotionally, it’ll break you medically — they call them sexually transmitted diseases.

Well, if that’s true of the seventh commandment, you can rest assured it’s true of the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder”. We murder unborn children. We have a society that rationalizes, promotes and protects the murder of the child, not the life of the child in the womb.

Therefore, what has happened? Well, you lose 1.5 million children a year since 1973, what happens within a nation? A nation begins to realize, “That’s 1.5 million taxpayers, that’s 1.5 million consumers, that’s 1.5 million students a year that are being lost.”

Secondly, you promote the Planned Parenthood agenda and now, in America, the reproduction rate is 1.77 children per woman and that rate, of course, will not sustain a population. We don’t feel it in America because both legal and illegal immigration continues to cause this nation’s population to grow, to some extent — not significantly, but it is growing because of immigration.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES GONE?

TOM LAMPRECHT: On top of that, Harry, a CNS news story says that Pew research cites that young Americans today are less likely to be married today than any prior generation. In 1965, nearly 80 percent of “Silent Generation” members between 21 and 36 years old were married — 80 percent. Today, that number is 37 percent.

DR. REEDER: And that means, without marriage, there are less children desired and less children that are born. And, unfortunately, those that are born out of wedlock are born into unstable situations and usually end up in some kind of poverty, which then ends up into some kind of downward cycle of addictive behaviors or criminal behavior.

Toys ‘R Us has to close down why? There’s no children to go in there to buy like there were. They’ve had to start closing down and closing down and then once you begin having to close stores, the whole model was built on growth and there’s no growth. You’ve got to have kids to have stores for toys because it’s kids who want the toys. And, obviously, Babies ‘R Us also has lost its marketplace.

SMALL COLLEGES ARE FEELING THE PINCH OF LESS STUDENTS

Tom, I just got out of a meeting this last week in which we went through a survey. It is estimated that, in the next 18 years, over 50 percent of the small colleges and universities in America will close down.

There are multiple reasons why that is happening, but one reason it is happening is a diminishing pool of eligible students. The pool for students is rapidly decreasing. In fact, if it weren’t for international students, the rate of closures would be going up rapidly. Again, just as immigration is saving the population numbers, the immigration for our colleges — that is, international students arriving — is, at the moment, saving their very existence but it can’t last forever.

And then there will be another wave of closings after these large private schools with large endowments run out of their endowments. Right now, the only thing that they think is going to have any stability are the big state universities because of their athletic receipts and revenues and because they are taxpayer supported.

You see colleges diminishing. Why? No students. You’re looking at the blip on the timeline moving up. Babies ‘R Us — no babies, closed. Toys ‘R Us — no children, closed. Colleges — no students, closed.

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM TEETERS ON THE BRINK

And then, of course, let’s go to the end of the timeline and that is retirement. We have a Social Security system that, unless it is fully funded by the government, which will further destroy the economy of the United States, it also is at the moment of crisis and implosion as it implodes upon itself. Why? The whole system was built upon increasing the population of those entering the workplace to take care of those who were exiting the workplace.

Now it’s top-heavy. Now the number of those exiting the workplace drastically dwarfs the number of those entering the workplace or who are in the middle of their careers where they ought to be earning their most money. Therefore, those at the end of the timeline will suffer.

Therefore, look at the flow: Babies ‘R Us — no babies, close the stores. Toys ‘R Us — means no children, close those stores. Colleges — no students, close those colleges. Now retirement — there is no retirement for there’s no one in the system that can support those who are at the conclusion of their life in the system which, by the way, is payback because it is those who are coming to collect their Social Security that created the death culture and approved the death culture that destroyed the young who will not be there to take care of them in their old age.

You see these particular news stories become a metaphor to remind us of what happens when a country walks away from a Christian world and life view with the sanctity of sexuality, the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life, both in the womb and at the conclusion of life.

ABORTION MINDSET WILL STRIKE BACK AT SENIORS WITH EUTHANASIA

One final thought on this, and that is if there are all these now at the end of life and, because of the culture of death, there aren’t many to support them in the middle of life, it won’t be long until the culture of death visits those at the end of life with not passive euthanasia, but mandated euthanasia as people will decide who will get treatment at the end of life and who will not, due to the expense of keeping people alive and we don’t want to have to feed people who are living off of us. No matter what they did with their lives before they got there, they’re now in the way of our lives.

Those who survived the abortuary, those who were able to get through their childhood and get their education now look at older ones and realize, “There aren’t enough of us to support you, therefore we’ll have to cull the herd,” and the aged will have to be removed.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Lest anyone thinks you’re overstating the situation, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that, by 2035, senior citizens will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.

THE REMEDY IS TO LIVE BY GOD’S OUTLINE FOR LIFE AND FLOURISH

DR. REEDER: And that is an untenable position for a Social Security system and even for the economics of a nation. Therefore, what are the answers? Well, people know what I’m going to say: The answer is to get out there and share the Gospel and then disciple people so that they begin to live with rationality instead of the irrationality of rebellion against God, and the culture of death, and the culture of immorality and the culture of rebellion against the God of glory.

God’s Word gives us the outline for life. If we embrace it, then you can see human flourishing so let’s love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and mind. And Jesus is the one who will bring you because of the love of the Lord for you and, when that happens, then you can love your neighbor as yourself and we can return to sensibility when we love the Lord with our mind, our heart and our soul.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

College class gets it terribly wrong. Christians aren’t privileged — Christianity produces privileges for everyone

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NEW CLASS ON CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGE GETS IT ALL WRONG

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, just four days after Easter, George Washington University decided they would host a training session for students and faculty that teaches “Christian privilege” — that Christians receive unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across the country.  

DR. REEDER: It seems a premise that, in this country, Christians enjoy a privileged status and benefits simply by being Christian. Here’s what I think, actually, the workshop ought to be focused on: privileges produced by Christianity for everyone.

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In this workshop, one of the principles was the founding fathers were all Christians, weren’t they? And, of course, the answer is no. The point isn’t whether all the founding father were Christians, but the point is did the Christian world and life view affect what they produced as founding fathers?

CHRISTIANITY LED TO FAIRNESS AND WISDOM OF CONSTITUTION

Go look at the Declaration of Independence. What is the dominant worldview that is being expressed in terms of the rights of liberty that were unalienable by those that God gave, not the government. The Constitution, Lex Rex, that was a Christian world and life view. The true king of a nation should not be any individual or any individuals — so no to oligarchies, no to monarchies and no to democracy and yes to a representative government that’s: the king is the law and that the law is the king.

The Bill of Rights, in which the free practice of religion and note the nation could not pick and choose winners since everyone had the inalienable right for the free practice of religion, the government’s job was not to pick the religion, but Christianity had influenced the formation of a government that simply defended the rights to the rights to the free practice of religion.

Christian privilege? Then why would the Christian president, first president, write a letter to a Jewish synagogue that is framed to this day and hangs in that synagogue, in response to their question would this nation — clearly Christian influence, the Jewish congregations saw the influence of Christianity — so they asked the question: Would they be allowed and free to worship within this nation? George Washington, in reference to our founding documents, said yes. Then he corrected them, “You won’t be tolerated. Your right to worship is affirmed.”

Therefore, are there Christian privileges? Yes, if what you understand is not a nation that had a document designed to privilege Christians, but a nation that had documents — founding documents from founding fathers — influenced by a Christian world and life view that produced privileges for citizens of this country, no matter who they are, that were untold in other nations.

OUR HISTORY IS RICH WITH CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE THAT HAS FLOURISHED

Clearly, the festering boil was the inability and/or refusal of the founding fathers to address the evils of chattel slavery although, when you read the founding fathers, they were convinced by what they had established that slavery could not last within this nation. They were pretty sure the founding documents would sound the death knell.

Look at how Abraham Lincoln quoted the founding documents and the founding fathers to oppose slavery. Two of my great heroes, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, continually quoted from the Constitution as well as Biblical principles.

We have just commemorated the horrific death of Martin Luther King by assassination in Memphis 50 years ago. He not only quoted Scripture, but note how often he confronted the injustice of Jim Crow laws from the quotes of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as he would confront those unjust laws in a very powerful manner of debate and protest, claiming the rights of protest that had been built into the Bill of Rights by Christian forefathers and the equality of all citizens and that would include no partiality for racial or ethnic background that everyone was to enjoy those rights as citizens.

Therefore, yes, if you want to have a workshop that says Christianity has produced a nation with an imperfect track record but extraordinary privileges for all of its citizens that have never been known in other nations, I would attend that workshop but, obviously, the point of this workshop is that we have a nation in which Christians are privileged.

CHRISTIANS HAVE LESS PRIVILEGE AS THEY ARE LITIGATED

Well, that would be my second analysis, Tom. You have a hard time selling that premise to some Christian bakers and Christian photographers who are now being told that they are to use their skills and their gifts to support sexual practices that are sinful and destructive in which they cannot, in obedience to the Lord and free practice of religion, support. Talk to Christian counselors who, right now, labor in states that tell them your Christian counseling that identifies sexual promiscuity and sexual perversion as sins from which people can be forgiven through Gospel counseling and set free from Gospel transformation — now they’re in a nation that tells them they cannot give Christian counseling for issues such as sexual anarchy, sexual sins and sexual chaos.

I would suggest the right premise of the class should be what are the extraordinary privileges that the influence of Christianity have brought for all the citizens of this nation, even as you make an honest assessment of the imperfect protection of all of the citizens of this nation that should have been protected under our founding documents by our founding fathers who were influenced by a Christian world and life view?

IS THIS JUST A TACTIC TO DENY CHRISTIANS RIGHTS?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Are they truly thinking that there’s Christian privilege or is this merely a cover because Christians are being targeted?

DR REEDER: Right. This is justifying the targeting. The way that you get rid of Christian privilege is to target Christians and to not simply remove their privilege, but to remove their inalienable rights to practice their God-given rights that should be protected.

Tom, it’s abundantly clear that, in the undaunted and relentless sexual revolution, there is one religion that cannot be tolerated and that is Christianity. Every time you find a Christian speaking to those issues — of course, you and I experience it on a daily and regular basis with this program — there will be profanity, there’ll be name-calling, there’ll be an attempt of shaming one’s Christian ethics.

What we need to do in our generation is to continue to labor for the privileges that everyone can be blessed by and with when a Christian world and life view is applied to public policy. That is something that we labor for and long for. And I think we have to understand that workshops like this are really designed to marginalize Christianity and to silence Christianity within the culture.

And to, finally, this particular workshop grows right out of the textbook of the tactics of Cultural Marxism: you try to create a fractious society, various types of class warfare — whether it’s economic, racial, or religious — in order to elevate the power of the state over its citizens, thereby removing their rights and a limited government which is supposed to protect those rights into a government that will choose to give rights to any group it wants to and, thus, the cultural elite can then control society to the secular progressive sexual revolution anticipated utopian worldwide movement.

SAME TIRED PLAYBOOK, SAME SOLUTION IN CHRIST

But, Tom, there’s nothing new here. Whether it was Assyria or Babylon or Mato-Persian or Egypt or Greece or Roman or Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, there have always been these attempts at various types of empires. Right now, the attempt is based in an ideology that uses governments in order to control people.

What we just need to do is to keep giving ourselves to that glorious, unstoppable and ultimately triumphant movement of the kingdom of God with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we win men and women to a personal relationship with Christ and disciple them so that they not only think with the mind of Christ, but they live with courage and compassion out of a heart for Christ and a life that is like Christ, who would speak the truth in love.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Gender chaos leads to societal chaos

(Wikicommons/YHN)

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WHY HAS PERSONAL IDENTITY BECOME SUCH A BIG PROBLEM IN SOCIETY?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, today, I’d like to take you to an in-depth article written by a friend of yours, Dr. Peter Jones. It deals with personal identity. He writes, “If personal identity becomes one of the areas of human rights to be defended with moral passion, then there can be no universal moral standards.” What does he mean by that?

HARRY REEDER: Peter has appropriately addressed this from Romans 1:18 through the end of the chapter, the three-fold death spiral of a culture that denies God and the worship of God and institutes the worship of the creature and the worship of the creation.

In other words, instead of what he calls “two-ism” — the majestic God and then, secondly, His creation — there is now the creature made in the image of God who is to oversee God’s creation that God made for him — the creation is the home of humanity made in the image of God and humanity is called to be a good steward of that home and to fill it for His glory and to use it for His glory — man says, “There is no Creator. Everything exists out of a materialistic explanation,” thus atheistic evolution. Therefore, man is God and we are not here in the image of God, but we are God.

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DENYING GOD AS CREATOR LEADS THE CREATURE ASTRAY

And he makes the point, whenever that happens, there is a downward spiral. Today, it is the universally acclaimed “right” of personal identity: “I am who I say I am.” You now have actually taught, in academic circles with academic respectability, statements such as this: When you are born, it is valid to put on the birth certificate your “biological sex” male or female, but it is not valid to put gender because gender is a matter of social construct.

There is a direct denial that God says, “No, there is male; there is female.” Now, do we want socially attached directives to define gender? No, but we do want the Word of God that reveals to us that we are made in the image of God and the image of God requires male and female. And there is something distinctive about male and female and distinctive about how you live out your masculinity and your femininity in life and the three spheres of life: the civil arena of life, the sacred arena of life of the church, and the foundational arena of life which is marriage and family. There is a denial of that and says yes, there is a biological sex, but gender is a social construct and it awaits the person’s identification of their gender. That is, you personally identify.

ACADEMIA IS SPREADING POST-MODERN THEORIES ON IDENTITY

It was very interesting, if you’ll remember, the young lady, the president of an African-American organization in the state of Washington that claimed that she was African-American but we found that was cosmetic and the reality is she is not. And her family spoke up and then the outcry from the academic circles, “Well, yes, she is African-American if she identifies as African-American.” That now leads to men who say, “I identify as a female,” winning 100-yard dashes with male testosterone outgunning the hormones of the females in the race — “Oh, well, biologically, he may be a he, but he identifies as a she” — and so you now have chaos in sports and chaos in the military and chaos everywhere in the trans ideology, which is based upon personal identity.

Society was based upon premodernity, which is God has revealed truth in creation and in Scripture and you now function based upon what God has revealed — that is, reason is used on the foundation of revelation.

Well, now we have moved to modernity, which says no, revelation is mythological and man’s reason is the foundation of life and that’s modernity. It was captured most clearly by Descartes, who said, “I think; therefore, I am.” Up until then, it was “I am; God has revealed I am made in the image of God. Being made in the image of God, I can communicate and think.”

Therefore, up until Descartes, academia was built upon “I am; therefore, I can think. I am made in the image of God; therefore, I can think. I am a rational creature. I’m not an animal. There’s something different about humanity made in the image of God, male and female.”

Now we move to the Descartes declaration embraced by academics, which is “I think; therefore, I am.” Well, the fallibility of our thinking has attacked the veracity of our existence. Thus, now modernity has moved to post-modernity so we’ve moved from “I am; therefore, I think,” to “I think; therefore, I am,” now we have moved to “Whatever I think I am is what I am.”

HOWEVER, CHAOS OF IDENTITY LEADS TO CHAOS OF SOCIETY

And that, of course, leads to utter chaos as we’re seeing, but man’s rebellion and idolatry of self says, “I will not reason from God’s revelation. My reason is going to be supreme and, if my reason is supreme, then I am sovereign and there is no God who made me what I am. I am what I think I am and whatever I think I am, I must be treated that way in society. So, if I say I’m an African-American but I’m Caucasian, it doesn’t matter. You have to treat me that way because that’s what I think I am.”

And that’s where the trans ideology has extended into the gender confusion arena and so, instead of seeing gender confusion as an adolescent issue, it has now become a “cause celeb” whereby, “These are not people confused, but these are people telling you who they really are inside of themselves.” And you go back and say, “Well, if you go inside of them and we take the DNA out, guess what? They’re male. They’re a female. That’s who they are. You dig them up after they die, 500 years, do a bone test, they’re going to say, ‘That was a man. That was a woman.’”

THE GOOD NEWS IS OUR IDENTITY IN GOD IS UNCHANGEABLE

My identity is not derived from who I say I am, and what I do and what the culture affirms. I am what I am, first of all, because God made me in His image and, secondly, I am what I am by the grace of God. Tom, we now have a generation of children who have no meaning except what they say is their meaning and what the world affirms as their meaning instead of an intrinsic dignity.

Tom, I just finished a couple of hours last night working on a chapter in my commentary that I’m doing on the Book of James, which says to us this glorious truth: How can you say you love God and don’t love your brother? If you can’t love your brother, who is made in the image of God, how can you say that you love God? And notice our relationships with each other are built on the relationship and dignity of who God is and how God made the people around me. I can’t say I love Him and then have people around me who are made in the image of God and not properly love them.

And what is that declaring? That’s declaring, everybody you meet — I don’t care if they’re Black, white, rich, poor, North American, South American — I don’t care who they are or where they are in terms of their intrinsic worth. Everybody has intrinsic worth, not assigned to themselves by themselves or assigned to themselves by the culture, but they have an intrinsic worth assigned to them by God. It is not an assigned worth and dignity, but it is an intrinsic worth and dignity. God made them in His image; male and female He made in His image; old and young; rich and poor; in the womb, outside of the womb — there is the dignity of humanity.

God made you in His image and, if you come to Jesus, you can be conformed to the image of Christ and you can say with men who are changed like the apostle Paul, who was Saul of Tarsus and a religious terrorist until the grace of God met Him and then he says this: “I am what I am, not only because of how God made me, but what God is doing in me. I am what I am by the grace of God in Christ.”

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Cultural Marxism: Do you know what it is and how to fight it?

(Wikicommons)

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LEFT DENIES CULTURAL MARXISM — WHAT IS IT AND IS IT TRULY RAMPANT?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, anyone who’s listened to Today in Perspective for any length of time knows you often use the term “cultural Marxism”. Michael Walsh recently ran an in-depth article on cultural Marxism. 

Cultural Marxism, he says, has become a catchphrase of the right. It isn’t used to mean just a Marxist approach to the way power operates through culture, but it’s used to imply a programmatic undermining of Western civilization by Marxists who have been beaten in the political-economic arena and they’ve now transferred their attentions to the cultural sphere. They’re responsible for political correctness, identity politics, ‘60s liberalism and the threats to the established order that these represent.

DR. REEDER: He says “programmatic” and I’d say “tactical” use today. Many times, you know that you have put your finger on something when they even deny its existence. Cultural Marxism is a development, first of all, of Marxism, going back to the 19th century and then, secondly, it is a new tactic given the failures of Marxism in the 20th century.

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MARXISM COMES FROM HEGEL PHILOSOPHY ALONG WITH EVOLUTION

What is Marxism? Well, Karl Marx developed a theory of government and economics and life that was based upon what was called “dialectical materialism”. There was a philosopher by the name of Hegel and the notion is this: You have in life a reality and, because of that reality, reality always creates an anti-reality. And the anti-reality and the reality eventually have a violent confrontation. Now, it may be verbal, physical or academic violence, but it will come into conflict. Out of that conflict will come a new reality, which will create a new anti-reality.

There is thesis and, when you have a thesis, it then creates an antithesis and the thesis and the antithesis come into conflict and that creates a synthesis out of the conflict and the synthesis becomes the new thesis that then creates another antithesis, another conflict and that becomes the pattern of society.

Well, Hegel’s view was adopted by a couple of thinkers — one was a scientific thinker by the name of Darwin and Darwin adopted that so his view was called “evolution”. He didn’t develop evolution from observations, scientific experiment and the fossil record, but he actually interpreted observation and fossil records through the prism of his Hegelian dialectic.

MARX ADOPTED AND CREATED SOCIAL VERSION

Karl Marx did the same thing and he said you have the bourgeois, that is, the people in power, you have the proletariat, the oppressed, and the proletariat will finally rebel against their oppression and, instead of evolution, he developed the theory of revolution. The state was “the Messiah,” the God, the Savior and so the way the state would expand its power is it would foment revolution. Well, if there’s revolution, people don’t like to live in the midst of conflict and disorder so the state says, “Oh, we’ll solve it for you,” and the state becomes the Savior in the midst of the chaos of revolution.

The political and economic dynamics of Marxism led to socialism and then its next step is the reality called communism. Those who believe in the supremacy of the government then had two choices: one is the fascism that we saw under Nazism or communism, which uses the lack of values or the profane values of the left in order to advance the power of the state.

Well, it soon found out that the biggest enemy of Marxism was Christianity and, therefore, under the regimes of Stalin and then Mao Zedong in China, Pol Pot in Southeast Asia came with the wholesale annihilation of Christians and the annihilation and control of religion by the state. You can’t have a nation under God if you want the nation to be under the state, itself.

FAILURE IN PAST DECADES FUELS NEW TACTICS NOW

Politically and economically, in the ‘70s and ‘80s and ‘90s, the communist movement fell apart because it couldn’t sustain itself, but there are those who have not given up on Marxism, nor on communism.

And they’ve decided the way to move this forward is cultural Marxism so what we want to do is create conflict in society, culturally and socially, so we will get this thesis/antithesis and, therefore, violence and conflict and now who is it that will step in to solve it economically and governmentally? The state. The state will take over economics. The state will take over the social order.

Therefore, it marginalizes Christianity because you don’t want Christianity that teaches the dignity of humanity and a hope that is found outside of the government. Thus, in our country, the cultural Marxists despise the First Amendment, it wants to marginalize self-reliance, thus they despise the Second Amendment and then they eventually despise all of the amendments because they’re rooted in local authority, that is state authority, and they want ultimate authority at the national level to control the state and the individual.

THIS EXPLAINS WHY THERE IS ALWAYS “CONFLICT” AND VIOLENCE

And the way to do that is to create chaos. How do you create chaos? You create thesis and antithesis and then revolution and that is conflict. We now have the cultural elite who are promoting this with the tactic of cultural Marxism, “Let’s turn black against white. Let’s turn rich against poor and issues such as income inequality, oppression, etc.” They take, many times, what are value issues and turn them into occasions for conflict.

And so, what is the answer to the conflict? It is not liberty. The answer is the state, the government, so we turn male against female, black against white, rich against poor, the employer against the employee. There’s taking the dynamics of life and, instead of teaching the creation sanctities that unify society and opening the doors for redeeming grace that changes the lives of men and women and how they treat one another and how they do their work.

Instead of opening the door for that, which historically has been what has matured and maintained our society, it is now marginalized in shaming the Christian witness or assimilating the Christian witness into its own brand of liberation theology whereby the Gospel now becomes the liberation from the oppressors of society. Instead of the Gospel being liberation from the penalty and power of sin, it is liberation from the oppressors of society so liberal Christianity is now co-opted by cultural Marxists as it reinvents the Gospel into the “cultural warrior” movement.

CHRIST’S CHURCH MUST COMBAT THIS

And what the church has got to do is say, “No, you’re not going to co-opt this. We’re going to continue to teach the sanctities of creation — that there’s the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of sexuality, the sanctity of work, the sanctity of men and women made in the image of God.”

That is, ultimately, the antidote to cultural Marxism, which, hopefully, our listeners now understand is even more than a social and political tactic — it actually is a religion that man needs a savior and the only savior is governmental authority and power over the rights and liberties of humanity.

Peter has already told us that we’re exiles so what you do is prepare yourself, out of the love of Christ, to always be ready to give an account of the hope that’s within you. And you do this with gentleness, clarity and a courageous compassion, but with conviction. You start in your own life through evangelism and discipleship, you share this with others, you engage in small group discipleship under the umbrella and oversight of a godly local church, you then gather for worship and then you scatter with the message of hope into a hopeless society because it doesn’t take long to make very clear that the state is not the savior.  The state has a God-given role, but it is not God and, whenever it is under God but wants to be God, it eventually will take the lives of people because it claims the prerogative of God.

COMING UP WEDNESDAY: PERSONAL IDENTITY CRISES ABOUND?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s Today in Perspective, I want to somewhat stay on the same theme as we go to an article by Dr. Peter Jones on personal identity.

DR. REEDER: Yes, Tom. How did we get from “I am; therefore, I think,” to “I think; therefore, I am,” to now “Whatever I think I am, that’s what I am”?

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

 

How parents can combat Planned Parenthood’s shocking deviant sex education

(Pixabay/YHN)

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PARENTS STAGE BOYCOTT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S SEX ED IN SCHOOLS

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to an article out of PJ Media. “Sex education in public schools has gone off the deep end. Gone are the days of the handing out of birth control devices and showing how they’re used.” Harry, the article goes on to say, “These days, your kids are more likely to come away from school with sexual deviant knowledge thanks to Planned Parenthood’s comprehensive sex education program that has somehow made it into public school curriculums. These programs teach dangerous and violent practices. However, on April 23rd, parents around the nation will be pulling their children out of school for the day in protest of these dangerous practices and uniting at various locations to hold press conferences and field media questions.”

DR. REEDER: Right, if the media will cover this. But it is a reality and because of the parental response, that surfaces something we wanted to talk about today. Now, one of the obvious things that we have to at least mention is something that we referred to in a previous program, the fact that here was an entire political party that ran on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood and it seems as if what they really meant was, “Well, we’re going to give $500 million to a year to them,” but in September they have an opportunity to undo that.

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It was asked in that article how did Planned Parenthood get into the local school systems whereby they have moved from their previous practices of handing out contraceptives and demonstrating their use — we weren’t even going to talk about what they used to do and we certainly can’t talk about what they’re now teaching. What they’re now teaching are the practices that you would find in the darkened halls of various brothels of depraved practices and so we certainly aren’t going to talk about that.

SEEK THE LOCAL SOURCE OF THE PROBLEMS

However, why are they able to teach that in the public school system? Well, that’s not a problem with the federal government and the Congress. That’s a problem with your local government. They allow it because of the infiltration of the Progressives and their election on the school boards and then they are the ones who are promoting this. School board elections should not be ignored. You need to run good candidates who have a concept of what education is actually about and a good philosophy of education that’s rooted in an appropriate world and life view that values the dignity of humanity, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of sexuality and the sanctity of life.

I would even go further than that, today, Tom. I would talk about when you see the moral freefall of a culture, Tom, you have to assume that the church of Jesus Christ — and, in this case, I’m speaking of the evangelical church — has either lost its voice or lost its influence because it has either gotten off of mission which is evangelism and discipleship or it has gotten off-message and it is not teaching the whole gospel of God with the spearpoint of the gospel of saving grace in Jesus Christ and this is the way our Lord warned that if the salt loses its saltiness, it is of no value — it’s just thrown out and trodden underfoot.

What we need to ask ourselves is not should we be surprised that the world is actually on the trajectory of Romans 1 from atheism to secularism to pagan worship, which then leads to God giving them over to pagan immorality, as Romans 1 describes, of promiscuity and then perversion in the realm of sexual rebellion and anarchy. The question is where is the church of Jesus Christ in this?

FAMILIES CAN TRANSFORM THEIR CULTURE BY SPEAKING UP

And the answer is not for the church to try to transform the culture — the culture transformation takes place with the church’s focus and one of the areas that the church ought to focus in its evangelism and discipleship is in parenting and that is the strength of the family. And, if there were stronger marriages and families being nurtured within the church based upon the gospel, directed and taught by the Word of God and therefore those marriages engage in parenting that’s making a difference and children making a difference.

And then, parents, if they’re in the public school system, speaking to the system when it raises itself up in opposition to these sanctities of life such as marriage, family and sexuality and then also when it invades the realm of parental rights by overriding parental instruction. If believers were functioning the way they ought to, it doesn’t take a lot of salt to affect the entire system or the impact in a school system.

And then, of course, in some cases, parents have said, “No, we’re not going to sacrifice our children to Moloch. We’re not going to let you put the marks of Moloch on our children as you desire to do in this ideologically-driven public school system. We’re going to raise our children and take hold of their education.” And some of them will use private schools, some Christian schools and some are doing home schools and home school co-ops — I meet that all the time.

Tom, could I just maybe conclude our program today by not only applauding these parents who are saying no to this mind-numbing and heart-devastating ideology that Planned Parenthood brings under the guise of sex education.

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR PARENTS

Let me just give you five things quickly, as parents, that you can move ahead in as Christian parents which would have an effect of salt and light within a society and the culture.

— Your number one responsibility as a parent is to evangelize and then disciple your child. Your child comes to you with a promise from God as a believer. “I’ll be a God to you and to your children after you.” Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, you and your household.” But the promise comes with a means and that means is that you, wrapped in the nurturing ministry of an evangelical faithful church, your number one responsibility is to evangelize your child — that is, to bring your child from being born as a sinner under the judgement of God, yet you have a promise of God working through your parenting and in the family to bring them to a saving knowledge of Christ. And then, upon their confession of Christ, you can kick in the whole dynamic of discipleship so that they learn to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul and mind and their neighbors as themselves.

— The second thing that you need to do is to carry that discipleship out with a full-orbed commitment to the education of that child. And the best roadmap for education is given in the education of Jesus in His childhood. It’s found in Luke 2:52: “And He grew in wisdom, stature, favor with God and favor with man.” In other words, you’re developing their intellectual wisdom that transfers into lifestyle decisions — grow in wisdom. In stature, you are making sure of their physical formation. In favor with God, you’re teaching them the spiritual disciplines of the Word of God: prayer, sacrament, worship, fellowship. “He grew in favor with man,” you’re teaching them Biblical relational and social skills, including the dynamics of marriage and family, church, state and relationships.

— The third thing is that you raise your children to leave you, not cleave to you. You’re not your child’s friend — you are your child’s father or mother and you parent them to cleave to not only Christ, but to a spouse or to cleave to a calling of singleness if that’s what God has given to them.

— You prepare them with a skill for life so that they can engage in work to the glory of God and enjoy the glory of God.

— And then, fifthly, you teach them the Great Commission, their dependence upon the Gospel as the foundation, formation and motivation of life and you then also teach them the Great Commandment — how do you love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind and how do you love your neighbor as yourself?

As much as we rightly try to speak from a Christian world and life view to the arena of public policy in the public square and how important that is, what we just said is more important than anything else and that is Christian families, Gospel-saturated, embracing a Biblical world and life view where parents are parenting their child. Your friendship with your child will come later.

COMING UP TUESDAY: CULTURAL MARXISM AT WORK IN SOCIETY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we are out of time for today. On Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to an article by Michael Walsh, “Cultural Marxist Left Doesn’t Like the Term ‘Cultural Marxism.’”

DR. REEDER: Claiming that it’s a fabrication but the question is, is it a fabrication and, if it is not, what is it, and how does it work and is it at work in our society?

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Sorry and all, but yes there is a Heaven and Hell

(Pixabay)

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POPE ACCUSED OF MISLEADING STATEMENTS ABOUT HELL

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, a number of media outlets covered this story. We’re taking it from CNS News, Pope Francis saying there is no hell. Recently, Pope Francis had an interview with his long-time atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari. In this interview, Scalfari asked, “Your Holiness, in our previous meeting, you told me that our species will disappear at a certain moment and that God, out of His creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who die in sin and go to Hell to suffer for eternity.” Pope Francis replied, “They are not punished. Those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of those souls who contemplate Him, but those who do not repent and cannot, therefore, be forgiven, disappear. There is no Hell. There is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

DR. REEDER: Tom, we need to say that the Vatican — not the Pope — put out the disclaimer that the exact words were not completely accurate. What didn’t come was a “Hey, that was erroneous. The Pope affirms the historic doctrine of Heaven and Hell, the eternal condemnation of the lost in their rebellion against God and the eternal joy of those who know Him through the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ. There was no reclamation of the historic doctrine.

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We’re not going to speak to the erroneous doctrine of Purgatory. We’re going to only deal with the issue of the eternality of Heaven and Hell and the reality that there is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to lose and the only way you gain that Heaven and the only way you can lose that Hell — since we’re all born sinners and under the judgement of God — is through the atoning work of Christ, who has come into this world because of the love of God to save sinners.

HEAVEN IS A FREE GIFT FROM GOD IF WE ACCEPT IT

And God’s love for us is unmerited and unwanted, but it’s not, in the ultimate sense, unconditional in that God’s love for us had to meet certain conditions and that is the eradication of our sin, but God’s love for us is so glorious He didn’t tell us that we had to eradicate the consequences of our sin — His Son came and His Son eradicated the consequences of our sin by His atoning death on the cross. And He eradicates the power of sin because, by His Spirit, we are born again so we not only get a new record with our sins removed from us as far as the east is from the west through Christ’s atoning work and the righteousness of Christ that is given to us so that our sins that were credited to Him and He paid for them now are replaced by His righteousness that is credited to us.

Therefore, we’re not only forgiven and pardoned, we are accepted and declared innocent through the righteousness of Christ and then, by the work of the Holy Spirit, we are born again and we’re given a new heart so that not only is the penalty of sin eradicated, but we are emancipated from the power of sin. We get a new life in which we increasingly walk away from the practice of sin into the newness of obedience to Christ and then, one day, we will have the absence of the presence of sin or even the ability to sin in the glories of a new heaven and new earth.

And, Mr. Pope, with all due respect, Heaven is not an ethereal existence of contemplating God. The Bible is very clear that there is much activity in Heaven — we are not sitting in a corner in an eternal contemplative mode. There’s a new heavens, and there’s a new earth, and there’s activity, and there is serving the Lord but there will be no curse of sin and there will be no ability to sin. There will be no consequences of sin: no pain, no death. The former things have passed away.

Jesus said, “Behold, I make all things new.” On that day, with a new body that He gives to us, He will bring us not into a refurbished heaven and earth, but a transformed heaven and earth. The new heavens and the new earth and the glories of not simply contemplating Him, but learning from Him, enjoying Him, and not only enjoying Him, but the unbroken fellowship with those made in His image into a relationship that is glorious and beyond our comprehension but will not be beyond our occupation for all eternity.

And what about his remarks on Hell? Pope Francis has now embraced, to some degree, the historically condemned doctrine of annihilation — that, at death, the unbeliever, the impenitent, do not come under the judgement of God for all eternity, but are basically dismissed from existence into oblivion of non-existence.

I have no idea what he means by the creative power of God creating new species. The Bible is very clear that God has finished creation. Six days He created and then He rested from creation. The Bible is very clear that the doctrine of Hell is the conscious punishment of the impenitent in their cosmic treason and rebellion against God for all eternity.

Tom, what in the world was Jesus doing on the cross? What was that agony of the soul in “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” What is all that that becomes meaningless gibberish if there is no Hell to shun. So, the Pope, in one simple statement of complex consequences, has dismissed the historic Apostle’s Creed, has dismissed the Biblical doctrine of Hell.

CHRIST SPOKE AND TAUGHT MUCH OF HELL

And, to the Pope, I would simply say, “You are to be the Vicar of Christ. Who is it that gave us the most information about Hell and conscious torment in all of eternity, even using the metaphors of the blackness of full isolation and the torment of fire?” Over two-thirds of the information about Hell comes directly from the mouth of Jesus, the one who would bear the Hell that was due to His people for their sins on the cross.

Two-thirds of it is given to us and the warning of what it means to come under the judgement of God and eternal condemnation and that God will hurl them into the lake of fire that is the conscious torment of the lost for all eternity. There will weeping and gnashing of teeth. That does not sound like oblivion to me — that sounds like torment. That is something that propels me to tell people to come to Jesus.

CONFUSION AND LACK OF TEACHING ON HELL CAUSES MORE SIN

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me go back to Pope Benedict XVI, who just in 2007 said, “Jesus came to tell us that He wants us all in Heaven and that Hell, of which so little is said in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to His love.”

Harry, there’s obviously a paradigm shift that’s taking place here. Is the new attitude toward Hell going to create a callousness and a laissez-faire attitude toward sin?

DR. REEDER: And toward God, Himself. We contemplated doing a program on the blasphemy that Stephen Colbert did during Holy Week against the majesty of God and the holiness of God and then, right within the Roman Catholic church, again, this professor at Holy Cross who blasphemes Christ by trying to turn Him into a transgender androgynous existing entity.

However, the reason that people in the culture feel free to do those things and there is no restraint upon how you refer to God and how you would speak about Him, is because the church of Jesus Christ has declared itself more spiritual than Jesus in that we will not speak of the sinfulness of sin and we will not speak of the consequence of sin.

When was the last time that you heard a sermon on the Biblical doctrine of Hell? Jesus gave a number of those sermons. You go find a revival in which the doctrine of sin and the doctrine of Hell was not prominent in the preaching of God’s Word, which then set up the preeminence of the doctrines of grace to save us from our sin, and the Savior who bore our Hell and who desires us to be with Him in a new heavens and a new earth. Jesus bore the penalty of those sins, our hell, and in Jesus you can have eternal life.

Just as Hell is real, so is the new heavens and the new earth. “Where I am, there you will be with Me always.”

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

When elected officials campaign on promises they don’t keep

(W.Miller/YHN)

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PRO-LIFE POSITIVES BUT OMNIBUS BILL A BIG NEGATIVE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, our friends over at World Magazine recently ran an article with some highlights and lowlights of the pro-life issue. Indiana now numbers among the majority of states that require annual inspections of abortion centers. They join 27 other states.  In the state of Washington, some low news: Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill last week that will force health insurance companies to cover abortion. Down in Louisiana, the Legislature is considering a bill that would protect the lives of the unborn after 15 weeks’ gestation. Now, you might remember we talked about this a couple of weeks ago over in Mississippi, who have the same law that was halted by a federal judge. Out in Hawaii, they’ve legalized assisted suicide, becoming the sixth state in the nation to do so.

However, Harry, the biggest piece of news concerning life is the new Omnibus Bill, that $1.3 trillion bill. Now, we can talk about spending money that we don’t have, but one of the pieces of this bill is $500 million that is allocated for Planned Parenthood.

Now, let’s remember that the Republicans told the White House, the House and the Senate that one of the things they ran on was the fact that Planned Parenthood would be defunded.

DR. REEDER: Tom, from a Christian world and life view, there is not only the sanctity of life that has to be considered and how that’s not just a policy that you can embrace or not embrace as well as the issue of integrity when you say, “Elect me. This is what I will do,” and then you get elected and you do not do that.

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POLITICS AT WORK AGAIN — BUT FOR WHOM?

Now, I understand the issue of compromise in a political situation and I understand that, if you want the sanctity of life, you may not be able to get all that you want but, in terms of the sanctity of life, in that bill, they didn’t get simply part of what they want — they got nothing of what they want and there is a direct ignoring of what they said, “Elect us and this is what we will do. We will defund Planned Parenthood.”

You have a victory lap by Charles Schumer afterwards saying, “Even though we don’t control any of the branches of government, we were able to secure what we wanted in this Omnibus bill.”

And then you have the Republicans in government looking for a bag to put over their head because not only the immorality of a plunge into even greater debt… There’s got to be a payday someday on this. You cannot keep spending money that you don’t have. There is an immorality of putting our children and grandchildren into the bondage of debt and under the control of foreign governments and entities that control that debt.

WAS THIS COMPROMISE OR SURRENDER?

Now, the answer-back is, of course, “Well, we had to get advancement in a couple of areas and, most importantly, defense of the country and military spending. Our military is in shambles because of fighting these multiple wars — these lengthy wars — and that sequestration has gutted the military budget and something had to be done.”

Well, I think you can make a case for it and secure that without abandoning the integrity of your commitment “We will defund Planned Parenthood,” without abandoning the commitment to the sanctity of life, which is a non-negotiable. And the incremental step of removing $500 million a year to the funding of an organization that has been exposed as an industry that makes money off of abortion, the emotional, the physical and the psychological impact upon women who are brought into these abortuaries as well as the 100 percent lethal impact upon the children that are lost in these abortuaries, there is no way that we can negotiate that any more than a person of integrity could negotiate the existence of an Auschwitz concentration camp.

Tom, you selected a number of stories that led us into this of, by and large, some significant advances on the sanctity of life at the state level for which we give thanks to the Lord. Now, there are some lessons here from a Christian world and life view. Let me give a couple of them if I can.

SMALLER GOVERNMENTS HAVE MORE POWER AND ACCOUNTABILITY

One of the things that our founding fathers understood is that power corrupts and increasing power increasingly corrupts. And so, Tom, what we see is, the further away power gets, the more insulated it feels. An elected official in Washington’s three phone calls away while an elected official locally is one phone call away. That’s why they put the powers in the state and only had powers for the federal government that were necessary for cohesion of the country, but the greater power was put at the state level because, there, the officials are more readily accountable — not only in the regularity of an election, but also by presence and by proximity.

We also have to affirm, again, the issue of character, Tom. When an elected official tells you, “Elect me. This is what I will do,” again, we see the importance of character and will they do it once they are elected or will, the very position that got them elected, they will negotiate it away in order to accomplish something else that, while is desirable, does not rise to the status of the sanctity of life, particularly, for the defenseless, the innocent and the unborn.

Here’s what I would say to our elected officials in the Senate and in the Congress: What you have done has not gone unnoticed. There are many who are concerned about it. The way that this bill was passed means that they are now confronted with another vote on spending and our budget in September, which is not long before the mid-term elections. There will be many watching to see what you do in that spending bill and will you undo what you’ve done, which is the funding of an institution unalterably committed to the culture of death.

SOME ARE FEELING DISILLUSIONED — WHAT TO DO?

And let me speak just for a moment, Tom, to those who are disillusioned. Don’t be disillusioned from engagement in the political process with a Christian world and life view. Just realize this: Your allegiance and unstoppable affection has to go to your Savior, Lord and King, Jesus Christ, not to political parties. And then you ask the Lord to give you the desire to think Christianly and to live a life that will honor Christ, which means you will stay committed and you will stay engaged.

However, here’s where you need to be disillusioned. The answer to the death spiral of our culture into a culture of death and into a culture of sexual anarchy is not going to be found from the top-down in Washington so stay engaged because the blessing of political integrity is the restraint of sin in society.

As the progressive attempts to make the government its Savior and Messiah, I should never fall into the trap of being disillusioned in that I already know I cannot depend on the government for our salvation. I will stay engaged, though, because I want to elect officials who will protect the inalienable rights of the citizens of a nation who are made in the image of God and elect those who understand what their responsibility is in government.

I also will, again, embrace the notion that the most effective politics is local politics — that’s where you will see the most progression of action. And, finally, I want to engage in that which does change a culture.

POLITICS IS ONLY A TOOL FOR LIVING OUT CHRISTIANITY

Consistency in governing authorities will restrain sin in society, but the only thing that will change a society is when the people in the society have a change in their heart. And the only thing that can change the heart is the glorious Good News that there is a King Who died for His people that they may have eternal life. And I get to proclaim that message, and disciple and win people to Christ that they can grow in grace.

Again, what we need is a culture that values life from the ground-up because it is filled with people who love life and who love the Lord and giver of life because He has given them eternal life and they want to bring that message that affects how you think and how your life and how you love your neighbor. That’s where the change is going to come.

Tom, one time, a guy said to me, “Harry, honesty is the best policy.” I said, “No, it’s not.” He said, “What do you mean?” “I just don’t believe that honesty and integrity are policies. I think they’re principles — that’s the way you live your life,” and that’s what the sanctity of life is.

COMING UP FRIDAY: POPE FRANCIS’ ALLEGED COMMENTS ON HELL

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we’re out of time for today. On Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a story out of CNS News. Pope Francis recently had an interview with his long-time atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari. In this interview, Pope Francis basically said there is no Hell.

DR. REEDER: Tom, I’ve gotten multiple emails, “What do you think about Pope Francis’ declaration there is no hell?” Well, let’s take a little closer look at what he said. Let’s look at it tomorrow.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Does archeology prove the Bible is true?

(Wikicommons)

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NEW ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG LENDS CREDENCE TO ISAIAH AND HEZEKIAH

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I’d like to take you to a story by Eric Metaxas. About two years ago, archeologists digging at the foot of the southern part of the wall that surrounds Jerusalem’s Old City found an ancient refuse dump dating back to the 8th century before Christ. At this dump, they found 33 imprints or seals. One of these bore the inscription belonging to Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, king of Judah.

Among the other clay seals was one inscribed with the name “Yesha’yah,” in English, that name is rendered “As Isaiah.” The obvious question, Harry, did this seal belong to Isaiah?

DR. REEDER: Well, let me say this: His name was certainly on the seal. By the way, I’ve been there. I take people every other year on a tour called “Learning the Bible in the Land of the Bible” and, if any of our listeners are interested and, God willing, if we’re able to go two years from now, we’d love to have you.

DOUBT HAS BEEN PLANTED BY HISTORIANS BUT IS NOW BEING CORRECTED

We actually visit the very place where this archeological dig found these “seals” from hundreds of years before the life of Christ. If our listeners would like to go read in 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles — particularly, 2 Chronicles — they will find five revivals and one of them, of course, was in the life and ministry of Hezekiah, which all of the historians said was a fabricated king who never existed.

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They even questioned the existence of King David so they said this Hezekiah didn’t exist and, certainly, this “prophet” with this extensive book in the Old Testament that is so focused prophetically on the coming of the Messiah and Christ, that’s all a post-Babylonian captivity mythological creation of Isaiah in order to write the things that the people returned from Babylon and wanted to write about a coming liberator called the “Messiah.”

Well, the reality is there was an Isaiah, there was a Hezekiah and, if the Bible affirms it, then it’s just a matter of time until history confirms it. And now we have this discipline that began in the 19th century called archeology and it increasingly and continually keeps affirming what we already know — that the Bible is telling us the truth.

And so, here’s a seal that they found that affirms the historicity of Hezekiah as a king. The prophet Isaiah ministered in the midst of a number of regimes of various kings, but notably in the life and ministry of King Hezekiah as the Lord delivered him from death and put him in place to serve Him and gave him these productive years of revival in the life of Israel as a bottom-up revival from a top-down leadership exemplary commitment that Hezekiah had to prayer, fasting, and the proclamation of the Word through prophets like Isaiah.

NEW DISCOVERIES KEEP PROVING BIBLE TRUE

So, again, the Bible affirms what we already know, which is that the Word of God is true. Every time I go to Israel, I’m constantly pointing this out: A prominent figure at Easter, Tom, is Pontius Pilate and yet historians tell us there is no Pontius Pilate and he didn’t really exist because they didn’t have enough extra-Biblical evidence beyond one or two mentionings of someone that might have been Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea appointed by Roman rule.

Well, the fact is they all of a sudden found the stone at Caesarea by the Sea which is the headquarters of the governor. The governor of Israel at the time of Jesus was not in Jerusalem — he was at Caesarea by the Sea — but he used the old Hasmonean Palace as his point of headquarters in Jerusalem. His state home was at Caesarea by the Sea so he had access out of that port back to Rome.

Guess what? They uncovered not only a stone that affirmed Pontius Pilate in the first century, but also uncovered the palace that was built by Herod whereby his protégé would later come, Herod Agrippa, and where not only Pontius Pilate resided but other governors after him would reside such as Felix and Festus who appear in the life and ministry of the apostle Paul who came to that same palace and spoke to kings even as God in His conversion told him that he would speak to Jews, Gentiles, and kings and those in authority.

And so, again, we find the affirmation of archeology and it’s constantly all around us whenever you go to a place and you patiently do the digging. The Bible only mentions one time in Jesus’ life and ministry — now, I actually think He did it a number of times — where He left the east coast of the Sea of Galilee and went to the west coast of the Sea of Galilee and landed at a place called Magdala and, of course, that’s where Mary Magdalene was converted.

There is a stone wharf that dates to the time of Jesus. Just footsteps away is a synagogue that dates to the time of Jesus so you are in a synagogue where, undoubtedly, Jesus taught and you are actually standing on a 50-foot wharf where, undoubtedly, Jesus when he got out of the boat that came from Bethsaida over to Magdala and probably at other times as well, actually walked on that.

Now, we don’t get excited about that because, all of a sudden, that’s more holy because Jesus walked there — no, we get excited about it because it keeps affirming to us the reality that the Bible does not contain a theoretical religion, philosophical derivation, but it contains a revelation of truth from God that God has actually come into time, space, history and reality and accomplished what He alone could do and that is save sinners through His Son. And the verification of the historicity, — not only scriptural veracity, but the historicity of Christianity — this veracity factor is of great encouragement.

PROOF DOESN’T MAKE FAITH, BUT IT CAN AFFIRM IT

Now, I believe the Bible because the Bible tells me it’s the Word of God. I don’t believe the Bible because they found a seal with Isaiah’s name on it — I just love that the Bible keeps being affirmed in its claims of a historical reality by historical discoveries. I love Bible history and, to some degree world history, but I really love American history and, when I take people to historical sites, I tell them, “One of the reasons I like to take you here is, as I tell you what happens, you’re standing where it happened and it’s amazing how you can get insight when you’re on-site.”

It’s amazing, when you get to Israel, I take the short little trip from Nazareth to Seborah and you get there to this place where the Roman stimulus package rebuilt and you realize over there in Nazareth was a couple hundred people living of which one was a techni — that is, a technician, that is, a carpenter, that is, a stonemason — who had some boys. How many times did they walk from Nazareth, the 45-minute walk, and then did their work on that Roman reclamation of that Greek city and its amphitheater? How many times did Jesus hear the word “hippocretus,” meaning a hypocrite, meaning an actor, that he would use later?

HISTORICAL SITE CAN STRENGTHEN FAITH ROOTED IN BIBLE

I love to get insight while you’re on-site, but the greatest insight is what the Bible says. It is not discovered by observation, but it is discovered by divine revelation but the observation bears it out. I’m a sinner and I can’t change myself — I can’t change myself any more than a leopard can change his spots — but there is a Savior whom God has sent. God has diagnosed my problem — “You’re a sinner and you’re under my judgement” — and God has provided a solution — “I’ve sent my Son who took My judgement and, if you come to Him and repent of your sins and receive Him, you can have the gift of eternal life.

And now we can not only walk where history was made and the Word of God affirmed — your walk can affirm to the world that Jesus saves sinners — forgives them, changes them and then uses us. Oh, my goodness, He even takes conspirators to murderers and those engaged in manslaughter and religious terrorists — like Moses, like David, like Paul — even can take a traitor like Peter.

He can take someone who is ready to flee in fear even though they’ve known the power of God like Elijah, the one whose name was discovered on the seal, and use him to thwart the priests of Baal and to proclaim the Good News that God will send His Son born of a virgin through whom sinners will be saved throughout all the nations.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Are the millions of lives lost to abortion less important than lives lost to gun violence?

(W.Miller/YHN)

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MARCH FOR OUR LIVES TOUTED BY MEDIA

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, today in the news, I want to talk about the March for Our Lives. Now, this was the march that took place two weekends ago. As we compare the March for Our Lives and the March for Life, commemorating the terrible decision by the Supreme Court of Roe v. Wade, it’s interesting to note that the coverage by the major news networks was 13 times more for March for Our Lives than it was for the March for Life, which took place back in January.

The poster child for the March for Our Lives is a young man named David Hogg, out of the South Florida high school where the terrible shooting took place. It’s sort of a sad commentary that David has decided to have just a profanity-ridden rant every time he goes on the TV.

DR. REEDER: Yeah, and after the avalanche of profanity, the young man was asked, “What policy changes?” and he said, “Well, I don’t know what policy changes. I’m a teenager. You’re an adult. You ought to come up with policy changes.”  Well, actually, the adults that have been funding these things do have a policy change in mind.

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WHO ARE THE ADULTS WHO ARE PROMOTING THIS?

Let’s back up just for a minute, Tom, and ask ourselves the question, “Why is it that you have this massive response to this situation of the March for Our Lives?” As you rightly point out, it’s not even comparable to the issue of the March for Life. The March for Our Lives is generated from the horrific shooting. We’re told that the problem is “gun violence”.

Now, what does the March for Life do? Well, it looks at not dozens of lives lost in a schoolroom, but it looks at millions of lives that are being lost in the womb. And so, when you take a look at the overwhelming statistical difference, you would think that the media, just on the basis of any objective reporting standards, would give attention to the March for Life, but they don’t — they pretty well now bury it on the third page and beyond — but they are fascinated with this. Why?

We don’t want to send our kids to school and have to worry about if they’re going to be gunned down. And we ask ourselves, “Is that because of guns or are guns actually a go-to instrument that’s being used in a culture of death?”

This young man has called for a response from “the adult population” with an adolescent fascination with profanity. He is now being promoted or “puffed” by the media and what he’s doing, of course, is somewhat revealing because you see the inability of our culture to discuss issues without resorting to epithets, name-calling and also profanity.

I  still hold pretty much to what I learned growing up where my dad and mom told me that, when people in a conversation or a debate resort to profanity and blasphemy, that reveals one of two things: Either their argument is weak and therefore they have to prop it up with profanity or the one presenting the argument is weak in terms of vocabulary and has to resort to profanity. And I think that’s true in this matter as well if we have a valid discussion on this, Tom.

WHEN DID GUNS BECOME A WEAPON OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN?

I went to school in a rural area — I was in a county high school — and a lot of the guys would come with guns in their truck. You actually had target practice classes that you could go to. How did we move in the culture to that place where you didn’t even worry about it because people would not have thought of it? How did we get there?

And, of course, you not only see this violence with the use of guns, but you also see the depression that is taking place among our young people. They are now reaching out for the answer to their significance in life with these horrific acts and their “15 minutes” — and, in this case, of course, stretches into days and months of weeks — of fame and notoriety. Why is that happening?

It’s not the presence of guns. With all due respect, guns don’t do violence — guns are instruments that can do violence. The question is, “Why are guns now being used in such a violent manner and they’re being used at places that would have been unthinkable such as churches and schools, etc.? Why is that happening?”

CULTURAL PASTIMES HOLD CLUE TO MINDSET CHANGE

Could we, perhaps, take a look at our culture that the adults are now foisting upon the young people such as video games where violence is objectified and video games where you’re rewarded for killing faceless people with horrific acts and pornography that objectifies women?

Should we be so amazed that people who spend hours in front of pornography walk into a business environment and objectify women in their comments? What is it that is filling the minds and hearts of the people in the culture? That’s what’s producing people who then do what would previously be unthinkable acts within the culture.

IS THIS A LARGER SECOND AMENDMENT ISSUE?

Tom, those are the questions we ought to be asking ourselves but then we’re back to why is this movement so publicized? Well, I think, very clearly, the Second Amendment is the target and, therefore, there has to be a discussion of why is there the Second Amendment? Well, the simple fact is the Second Amendment is there because the founding fathers believed in the sanctity of self-protection and the protection of the states from a runaway government so that they would be able to arm their citizens and could respond to any tyrannical move of the government.

What we need to ask ourselves is why is the valid provision of the Second Amendment now being used as a mechanism to access a weapon to be used for violence that objectifies people at targets to carry out my despair and depression in life? What is causing the despair and depression in the culture and what is it that is causing people to think in that direction?

That’s really what the adults ought to bring to the conversation but, instead, the adults are using the First Amendment right of assembly and free speech — which was exercised in the March for Our Lives — which we must preserve that First Amendment right but, yet, those with an agenda to remove the Second Amendment funded and are now using the valid concerns of these students in order to promote their own agenda. And then they also fasten themselves on a spokesperson who then brings the passion of profanity to bear upon the entire exercise.

CHRIST’S MESSAGE OF HOPE IS THE ONLY REMEDY TO OUR CULTURE

Let’s realize the dynamic of what’s happening in the coarsening of our culture but I think there’s something even more fundamental for believers and that’s this: let’s bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bear upon the culture and the glorious statement of life and what it means to live life and that life is not hiding away in a room playing video games that objectify violence and people as faceless targets for violence that creates this environment of despair and this environment of depression in which aggressive behavior against others becomes the route of affirming myself from faceless notoriety to being somebody in the culture.

Let’s bring the truth of the Gospel in the dignity of humanity, the glory of the love of Christ for sinners, and the reclamation that you are made and saved for a distinct purpose in life, and that there is dignity to life, and there is dignity to being made in the image of God and there is hope in being restored  by the glorious presence of Christ who died for our sins and again that we might have life and that we might have life abundantly filled with hope.

Therefore, while I want to speak to the constitutional issues and I want to challenge people to think of the culture that is producing these acts of violence whereby the adults have affirmed violence against children in the womb, then why are we amazed when the children grow up and decide to bring violence against other children, not in the womb but in a classroom? What is it in our culture that’s doing that?

What we’ve got to bring is the hope of the Gospel to the culture, recognizing all of those factors and the death spiral of the culture that’s producing it. What is it that we can bring that will elevate people to hope and life? And I believe it’s the glorious news that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of sinners and takes us from hopelessness to a blessed hope that is unconquerable and that makes men and women walk in the hope of new life and eternal life in Christ.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Commercial Surrogacy: The objectification of child-bearing

(Pixabay)

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DOMINO EFFECT OF GAY MARRIAGE IS NOW COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you out of a story out of CNS News. On March 12th, the governor of Washington signed into law a bill amending the state’s Uniform Parentage Act. This act officially permits women to be paid for carrying someone else’s child — in other words, surrogacy. It legalizes commercial surrogacy.

Sponsors of the bill insist that the legislation is to reduce suffering of infertile couples, but its real-world result would be to further commodify human life and exploit desperate women.

A 2016 Chicago Tribune study of fertility clinics in several different cities found that 10 to 20 percent of donor eggs are actually going to gay men having babies via surrogacy and, in a lot of places, that number is up to 50 percent from just five years ago. These “suffering infertile couples” — well, of course they’re infertile because they’re homosexual couples.

Harry, how is it that this community has had so much leverage on an issue that is so controversial?

DR. REEDER: There’s a couple of things here, Tom. First of all, in terms of your direct question, the LGBTQ community, which has 3 percent of the population, has an outsized effect in the culture because it is able to tap into the heartbeat of a secular culture, which is propelled by what Romans 1 reveals.

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If you want to read the death spiral of our culture, just read Romans 1:18 through the end of the chapter, in which a culture falls into the death spiral that then comes under the judgement of God and the judgement of God is for sexual promiscuity that pervades a society, and then sexual perversion that pervades a society and then the social approval of sexual promiscuity and sexual perversion.

However, what fuels it is rebellion against God. They know God but they will not acknowledge God and so, when a society sets its heart and its mind to being a godless society, which we have done under the rubric of secularism, then all ethical restraints eventually fall away until you have absolute chaos.

In other words, you have every man does what is right in his own eyes, therefore, there is no right or wrong because there’s only “my right” and “my wrong.” Therefore, now we’re told there are no boundaries for marriage — marriage can be whatever you want to as long as its two consenting adults.

WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE?

If now, the sanctity of life and the bringing forward of life into this world, historically, it has been that we bring forth life biologically — a man and a woman in the context of marriage so that the child has parents and the child has the stability of a family.

Now, we have said, “No, we’re going to redefine family by redefining marriage.” If you’ll remember, we constantly said in the Obergefell decision that it is a fabrication of marriage — it isn’t marriage, it can’t be marriage — because marriage is a conjugal, procreative, monogamous, heterosexual relationship.

Well, it’s not heterosexual in same-sex marriage, it’s not conjugal in same-sex marriage and it can’t procreate so there is the perversity of the conjugal relationship and then there is the editing of what it means to be procreative.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THESE “MARRIAGES”?

And so now you cannot have a conjugal relationship and you can’t have a procreative -relationship, but we want to have “children” so what will we do? Well, we’ll hire out the sperm or we’ll hire out the egg and we will hire out — in the case of two men in a same-sex marriage — a womb so now we have commodified children. The mantra in the state of Washington is, “These are consenting people and, as long as the people are consenting, it doesn’t matter what we do.”

There was a program in magazine called “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” in which they gave awards for astonishing achievements. Well, one of them every year, was somebody trying to break the record of how many dominoes they could put in place and then they would fall and, these amazingly architectural and intricate configurations where dominoes would be falling all the way around the room, well, that’s what we’re seeing in our culture — what’s the next domino to fall?

In the sexual revolution, the domino to fall because of the fact that sexual promiscuity is going to bring unwanted children, the domino to fall was the sanctity of life and abortion becomes the sacrament of the sexual revolution. And then comes the domino of the sanctity of marriage, and then the sanctity of family and now the sanctity of procreation.

WHAT WILL NEXT 20 YEARS BRING: TECHNOLOGICALLY AND SOCIALLY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, just yesterday, we talked about the fact that abortion has brought in this death culture. Surrogacy — which, by the way is outlawed in the state of New York — what will be the outcome 20 years from now as we look at the issue of surrogacy and homosexual couples raising children?

DR. REEDER: One of the fundamental casualties of same-sex marriage is children growing up in a fatherless or motherless home and now, with this surrogacy industry, women are going to be further objectified. Childbearing is going to become objectified because it’ll become an industry that will require governmental regulation. What you also begin to see is the inevitable mandating of people’s participation in this industry of surrogacy and, eventually, governmental support and taxpayer support and all of those things.

Therefore, the destruction of the family is further, the destruction of marriage is further, the joy of childbearing is destroyed and, of course, the sense is destroyed that, when you look at a child, the husband and the wife are able to look at each other and they’re able to say, “Look what God has brought forth and there’s some of me and some of you and here it is in this child. Isn’t it amazing, the blessings of God?” Now, this child that we are invested in spiritually, martially, familial investment and our own personal being is invested as God has brought forth this life through us, now let’s invest in the life of this child. Whatever we do, we must not idolize this child but, whatever we do, we must now raise to adulthood a child that’s able to leave us and cleave to another.”

And that’s what takes place in a true marriage — leaving and cleaving. In the fabrication of same-sex marriage, there is no true leaving and there is no true cleaving and, therefore, there is no true propagation of a next generation. There is only the manipulation of technology, the objectivization of women and the process of having a child, and now the child will be raised as a commodity that was manufactured in the home, instead of a person who was brought forth through the instrumentality of a husband and a wife and the sacredness of a marriage bed.

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES MUST STAY STRONG SHOW GOD’S WAY

Therefore, Tom, again, we’re back to Christians understanding what is taking place in the culture and bringing forth in the culture the witness and stability of not only a Christian world and life view, but a Christian world and lifestyle where our marriages are not only physically framed, male and female, but spiritually founded in the life and hope of Christ and joyfully presenting to the world the stability and the testimony of a Christian marriage, Christian family and covenant children raised in and for Christ in which the grace of God overcomes our sin and we’re able to show to the world that embracing God’s law by the power of God’s grace is joy in life while rebellion against God’s law simply brings deadness, despair, and destruction and ultimate destruction in life. Come to a better way and that way is Jesus, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

COMING UP WEDNESDAY: MORE BIBLE-SUPPORTING FINDS IN JERUSALEM

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Wednesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a story around an archeological dig in Jerusalem’s old city. Some interesting things have been discovered.

DR. REEDER: Yeah, there’s an interesting discipline that developed out of the 19th century and it’s called archeology and it’s been interesting to watch its impact in the affirmation and proclamation and propagation of Biblical Christianity. Another find has added to the affirmed veracity of God’s Word as truth.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

We must not sacrifice consistent morality for political pragmatism

(Pixabay/YHN)

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WORTHY IS THE (CONOR) LAMB? COLUMNIST THINKS SO

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry will recognize the Scripture, “Worthy is the lamb who was slain.” That is also the title of a New York Times column by David Brooks that was published back on March the 15th, “Worthy is the Lamb.”

Unfortunately, he wasn’t looking at Easter; he was looking at a political event, particularly, Conor Lamb’s victory in Pennsylvania. Our listeners will likely remember that Conor Lamb beat Rick Saccone in that special election for Congress outside of Pittsburgh.

David Brooks looks at Conor Lamb’s victory and says, “This is a glimmer of home that the Democrats may go the way of morals and character.” He points out that Lamb was a military veteran; that Lamb was careful to put the problems of his district first — the opioid crisis, retirement, security, labor issues; he emerges from a serious moral tradition — he’s a Catholic and attended parochial school run by Christian brothers; he campaigned in a way designed to bridge divisions, not exacerbate them; and he opposed both Nancy Pelosi in Congressional leadership races.

Moral character, Brooks said, is always the same essential things: putting a higher love like nation over a lower love like party.

WHY USE SCRIPTURE TO SUPPORT POLITICS?

DR. REEDER: Whenever someone takes a statement assigned in Scripture in singular glory to the God of glory, specifically to my Savior, as the phrase, “Worthy is the lamb,” which is declared in Heaven … The apostle, John, is on the isle of Patmos and he is overwhelmed with the question, “Who can open the seals of the redeeming work of Christ?” — the seven seals — and then he hears a voice saying, “Look, there is one who is worthy.” And then he says, “I looked and, behold, the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah.” And so, the lion has become the lamb to redeem us from our sins and the lion who has become the lamb is worthy to open the seals.

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I am immediately and pointedly adverse to any use of a statement attributed to God to be attributed anywhere else and about anything else, so I have to admit that the statement had me on the wrong foot to begin with because of its blasphemy.

FURTHERMORE, CONOR LAMB IS NOT MORALLY SERIOUS

David Brooks normally makes statements that have some weightiness to it and he has a number of insights that I have found helpful from time to time, but I have to say that this article evacuated almost all of that, at least momentarily.

Where he assigns all of this moral turpitude to Conor Lamb, well, the fact is, yes, he is a military veteran and I’m thankful for that. And, yes, he did say, “I’m concerned about the opioid epidemic and retirement and workers and all of those things.” He sounded the right notes and he said, “I’m just concerned about my people, not about the Democratic Party.”

Therefore, David Brooks says, “Here’s the Democratic wave of the future. Run to the center with moral seriousness, with moral sobriety.” In fact, he’ll end up his article with the interesting statement, “Conor Lamb may be wrong on a bunch of stuff, but he’s a breath of fresh air for the country because he is restoring character and shared moral norms that matter most. Policy is secondary.”

MORALITY DOES MATTER MOST, BUT ONLY CONSISTENT MORALITY

That’s right, morality matters most, policy is secondary and I agree with that, but Conor Lamb is not the poster child for this. He is said to be morally serious because of what he has said — well, the fact is he may say, “I’m running against Pelosi,” but the reality is he upholds every policy in the Democratic party, even the policy of putting to death the unborn, even the murder of the unborn.

Here is what he says — and, interesting, David Brooks applauds this meaningless statement of supposed character principle — “I am personally opposed to abortion, but I will not oppose political or legislative affirmations of the right of a woman to ‘human reproductive health’.”

That is not human reproductive health — that is human reproductive murder. And that statement tells you that Conor Lamb is not morally serious. It also tells you that David Brooks must not be morally serious if he declares such a candidate as a morally serious candidate.

If you are personally opposed to abortion, then you have to oppose it in policy. If you have the character to say abortion is the murder of unborn child, then you have the responsibility of character to oppose it politically and legislatively.

The reality is Conor Lamb marches in lock-step to the horrendous policies of the Democratic platform to kill babies in the womb. That is not moral seriousness — that is a vacuous moral posturing.

NOT JUST A WARNING FOR DEMOCRATS

And, by the way, let me go to the other side to Republicans. You’ve got to be able to see this same thing. For instance, as we’re working through this issue of the “Stormy Daniels,” alleged accusations that she’s been involved with President Trump — let me emphasize alleged — I understand of all that. I listened to portions of the interview with her and there’s nothing overwhelmingly convincing about evidence there and everybody has to have the evidence.

And people say to me, “Well, he paid the $130,000.00. Isn’t that an admission of guilt?” It may be. We need to find that out. It may also be, “Hey, the election’s two weeks around the corner. Let’s get rid of this and try to get through the election.” I don’t know, but I do know this: it matters to me whether or not my president is engaged in such activities. That is a character issue for me.

KEEP THIS MORALITY STANDARD IN MIND FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP

And it’s not enough for me that my president makes the right decisions politically. I am glad for that, I am glad that we have a Supreme Court justice that he nominated, I am glad that he is publicly opposed to Planned Parenthood, I am glad for many of the appointments that he has made that are of sound moral character and that are functioning evangelical Christians with a Christian world and life view — I am glad for all of that, but it still matters to me what the president does concerning his marriage vows. That matters to me.

I agree with David Brooks’ statement. Policy and pragmatic competency in a politician does not — pardon the pun — trump character for me. Character is crucial. It is the most essential thing in any leader.

I would say to all of the conservatives out there: you can’t say to Democrats who would excuse Bill Clinton’s sexual promiscuity and perversion on the basis that his policies were working and he’s a good and effective politician and then you turn around and excuse the behavior of your effective politician. You just can’t do that.

Mr. Brooks, I’m with you. Let’s have some moral seriousness but, Mr. Brooks, you’re dead wrong: the notion that I can be personally opposed to the murder of unborn children in the womb and not doing anything about it politically or legislatively and, on the contrary, I will embrace a platform that has a genocidal assault on the unborn, that foundational issue is what is leading to a culture of death, both at the beginning of life and at the end of life and now on the schoolyards and in the church buildings around the entire life of our culture. That’s not morally serious.

KEEP GOD IN POLITICAL STANDARDS, BUT DON’T PROFANE HIM BY PICKING AND CHOOSING

May I finally conclude by bringing, hopefully, reverence to the profane use of the headline “Worthy is the Lamb.” The Lamb is worthy. The Lamb who is worthy is the One who we celebrate who took our place on the cross — not the lambs of this world that cannot redeem us, but the Lamb of God Who has redeemed us and I want to bring His message.

To conservatives and my Republican friends, it is important that you do not sacrifice “Do not commit adultery” for political pragmatism and policy engagement. I love effective politics and I hate false allegations, but we must never become unserious about the ethical absolutes of God’s Law — “You shall not murder;” “You shall not commit adultery.” And if you’re willing to embrace that for political expediency whether you’re on the right or the left, that leads to nothing but the destruction of a society.

We need leaders who set the thermostat, not of perfection — we only get our perfection from the Lamb of God — “Worthy is the Lamb”. We also get His atoning death for our sins, but when you come to that Lamb, then you begin to desire a life that will honor Him. Even as the apostle Paul said, “I beseech you, walk in a manner worthy of your calling.”

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Why do Christians call Christ’s death ‘Good Friday’?

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TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, today, I want to trade the headline news for the Good News. Today is Maundy Thursday and tomorrow we celebrate Good Friday. Harry, I can remember as a child going to Good Friday services around the Easter celebration and I always thought to myself, “Why in the world do they call it Good Friday?” I can remember watching the movie, “The Robe,” with Victor Mature many decades ago and thinking, “What a terrible tragedy this is. Why would they call it Good Friday?”

DR. REEDER: Maybe I can put it this way: The death of Christ is tragic, but not a tragedy. It is tragic in the sense of all of the issues of one completely innocent being put to death in an unjust verdict and yet it is not a tragedy because the sovereign Godhead ordained all of this to provide an atoning death on behalf of sinners whereby we can be saved.

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Tom, let’s back up. I love the way you started this program. Let’s change the headline news for Good News and headline news, many times, is very little good about it but this is good news and it is glorious news.

There are two weeks revealed to us in the Word of God that are of significant, premier and paramount importance. One is the week in which God the Creator has revealed His glorious work to create the heavens and the earth and humanity, male and female in His image. And then you also find, in that week, the fall of humanity into sin.

And then, gloriously, the God of creation is a God of redemption and He has provided a way of salvation. And the focal point of that redeeming work is what His Son, come in the flesh, has done for His people on what we call “The Week of Passion.”

GOSPEL OF JOHN EXPLAINS HOW CHRIST’S LIFE LED TO CRUCIFIXION

I love to study the Gospel of John because it focuses on the life of Jesus in a very significant way and John gives you a lot of background information that the other gospels do not give you. John focuses on the glorious ministry of Christ in his 33-year incarnate life here on the earth and then, the last three years of that life, John brings significant focus. Beginning in John 1 through John 3, he looks at the first week of Jesus’ public ministry that begins with His baptism and then he gives a series of evangelistic encounters in Chapters 3 all the way to Chapter 11.

And then, from Chapter 11 all the way through to Chapter 21, he focuses on the last week of the events and the life of Jesus where Jesus relentlessly moves to that cross to provide an atoning death and gloriously comes from the tomb, announcing the victory that He has secured over sin, and over death, and over Hell, and over Satan and over the grave.

Now, why do we call it Good Friday? Because, on that day, sinners who are helpless and hopeless in what seems to be a tragic event — in that moment of that atoning death of Christ — God has done something that we could not do. He gave us a life in His Son, Jesus, that we had to live but could not live, a life of perfect righteousness that clothes us with the righteousness to take us to Heaven.

WHAT EXACTLY DID CHRIST DO ON THE CROSS FOR US?

And, at the cross, Jesus, stripped of His righteousness, then has the sins of all of His people for all of eternity poured out upon Him and then the wrath of God relentlessly is poured out upon Him as He drinks the cup of our judgement to the last drop, declaring, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”– ”My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And there, all of the hell due to all of His people for all of eternity, in that cry of dereliction, we see Him descending into hell and hell descending upon Him in the cross.

Then comes that next glorious word, “Tetelestai,” — “It is finished.” And that’s why it’s good. It is tragic, but not a tragedy, for in that moment, Jesus is not dying a martyr’s death and Jesus is not simply dying a model death, but Jesus is dying an atoning death. There is the crux or the cross or the crucial — all of those words come from the Latin word “cross” because there is the moment of history.

Here is the greatest week in all of history and here is the greatest day in all of history. And here, as Jesus said, Himself, is the greatest hour: “My hour has come.” “I was born for this: to go to the cross.” And, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For God demonstrates His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Well, then He goes to the tomb and He is buried in the tomb and the glorious truth of His resurrection on the Lord’s Day. In fulfillment of Scripture, on the third day, He rises from the dead and, in that, God has announced the victory of the saving work of Christ.

WHY DID CHRIST CHOOSE TO TAKE OUR SUFFERING INSTEAD OF US DOING IT OURSELVES?

If you can think of it this way, God has announced the victory of the saving work of Christ. If you can think of it this way, many people can go and claim that they’re dying a sacrificial death, but it does not provide an atonement. Why? Because they need their own savior. Jesus did not need a savior — He was perfectly innocent.

However, Jesus not only died for us perfectly innocent, He died in our place specifically so that our sins would be paid for and God’s announcement to us that, not only was Christ innocent and could take our sins, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. His righteousness and glorious righteousness stripped from Him, our sins put on Him and now, having paid for our sins, His righteousness descends upon us so that the gates of Hell have been shut with His atoning death and the gates of Heaven are open because we have the righteousness of Christ to bring us to glory.

And God’s announcement of that is the resurrection: because He lives, I know His atoning death paid for my sins. As the Scripture says, “He has seen the travail of His soul and is satisfied.” Why did he see it? He’s raised. And why was he raised? Because of the satisfactory atonement of Christ for our sins.

JESUS’ RESURRECTION WAS JUST THE BEGINNING OF GRACE AND EVANGELISM

I love the way it states it in the Gospel of John as the disciples come wondering who’s going to take the stone away — it was the women who were the last at the cross and the women who were the first at the tomb — and they get there and He is not there. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” We find Mary Magdalen coming and sitting there weeping and the voice of Jesus, when He calls her name, “Mary.” And she says, “Rabboni,” the term of endearment that she would have called Him as her redeemer and teacher.

We find John giving us the information she thought he was a gardener — well, that’s interesting, isn’t it, Tom? The first Adam was what? A gardener. What was the second Adam? Supposed to be a gardener, but He’s not a gardener — He is the Gardener. The first gardener was supposed to have developed the garden and fill the earth. The second Gardener has got another Garden and He’s going to fill the earth as the Kingdom of God.

And then we find the first evangelist as Mary Magdalen goes back to tell the disciples, “I have seen the Savior and He is risen.” And then is released the glorious movement of the power of the Gospel throughout the whole world.

THE GOOD NEWS STRETCHES FROM OUR LIFETIME INTO ETERNITY

Tom, isn’t it glorious, as you began this program, we are taking a break from the headline news to the Good News? Well, actually, it’s the Good News that alone will change the headline news. And the biggest headline news I would love for all of our listeners to know: you have been saved and you can only be saved through Jesus. And you can only be saved through Jesus when you come to Him by faith and repentance — there is no other way. The answer to your life is not found in the news of the world, but the answer to your life and my life is the news that has come from Heaven that Jesus saves.

Hallelujah. What a friend for sinners. Now that gives us a world and life view whereby we understand the news of the day but, more importantly, it gives us the instrument that changes the news of every day — first, by changing you and me.

Come to Christ. Good news: what seems to be a tragic death is no tragedy. It is the work of redemption to save sinners from their sins. It is the victory of God’s grace over our sin and, where our sin abounds, the Good News is God’s grace more than abounds in Jesus Christ. Amazing grace. Come to Jesus and be saved by grace through faith alone and Christ alone and then enjoy that Savior for now and for all eternity.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Single parenthood may be a heroic struggle, but it’s not ideal and shouldn’t be promoted

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WHAT DOES CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL SINGLE PARENT DAY SAY ABOUT OUR COUNTRY?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, first there was Mother’s Day, then there was Father’s Day, and now we have Grandparent’s Day. Interestingly, another day has popped up, which I wasn’t aware of until recently, March 21st is National Single Parent Day. That caused somewhat of a debate between The New York Times syndicated columnist, Robert Samuelson, and Tucker Carlson. Harry, the bottom line on this debate is being a single parent — is that a detriment to a family and to a society?

DR. REEDER: Single parenting, in many cases, is heroic. Single parenting is something to be avoided if possible. Here’s the reality: We live in a broken world, so what happens? A spouse dies or a marriage gets broken because someone is unfaithful. And then what happens to the children? Well, they’re in a single-parent home. Then the single parents who remain in that home and faithful to those children are engaged in a heroic struggle.

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SINGLE PARENTHOOD IS HEROIC, BUT NOT IDEAL

But why would we say it’s a heroic struggle? Because it is not the created order. The created order is it takes a man and a woman to have a child and God designed that to take place within the covenant of marriage because it takes a man and a woman to raise a child rightly. The child needs a father and mother to be created by the hand of God. We need both a father’s love and direction and a mother’s love and nurture: the teaching of kindness upon the mother’s tongue as Proverbs says, and the direction and empowerment that a father’s exhortation gives to their child.

So now what we’re being told we ought to be celebrating is single parenting and the answer is no. We celebrate the faithfulness and heroic efforts of a single parent and the reason they’re heroic is it is not the best possible solution. They are trying to overcome something that would be better and the better would be for the child to have two parents. While we want to obliterate single parenting, we want to assist and honor single parents unless they are single parents just simply out of rebellion. We need to recognize the consequences of a culture that attempts to normalize and celebrate single parenting and that’s what the article attempted to do.

WHO IS PROMOTING IT AND WHY?

One of my father’s — I’m sure he borrowed it from somebody — “Figures don’t lie, but liars sure do figure,” and that’s what The New York Times opinion piece attempted to do but Mr. Samuelson responds to it and he just points out that this was purely fabrication in an attempt to normalize single parenting and we know that poverty, lack of education, a lack of employment — all of those things skyrocket in the children’s lives that are raised in a single-parent home.

This is why, for instance, in our church whenever we have parents who are faced with single parenting, we try to step in and assist them because we know they’re facing an uphill struggle in what will happen in their children because of the single parenting. However, the answer is not to try to normalize single parenting.

Tom, here’s what’s really interesting: Because of the sexual revolution, in the African-American community, before 1970, the statistics for children born out of wedlock in a single-parent situation were less than 20 percent and now they are up to 72 percent, approaching 75 percent since 2010. And, in the Caucasian community, it was 6 percent and now it’s at 36 percent. The Hispanic community has faced pretty much the same situation.

Tom, what we are attempting to do because of the prevalence of single-parenting, which is promoted through the sexual revolution and which is promoted through the all-out assault upon the nuclear family of one man, one woman for one life — because of that, we have attempted to normalize it so, when an opinion piece comes out, they attempted to fabricate the statistics to lie about the unbelievable challenge of single parenting.

WHO IS REPORTING THE ACTUAL STATISTICS ON LONG-TERM EFFECTS?

Well, thankfully, Mr. Samuelson, who is no conservative at all, just says, “Listen. Let’s be honest about this. It is an undeniable fact that, out of single-parent homes, that the children by no means have the same record of engagement and gainful employment, finishing education, staying out of poverty, staying off of governmental support programs. It is an unbelievable challenge.”

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, indeed. Samuelson finishes his column on single-parenting by saying, “We are condemning more of our children to a precarious upbringing and that’s a problem.” Harry, is this a 21st century example of the sins of the father being visited upon the child?

DR. REEDER: That’s right. And you see what’s happening out of engagement of soft pornography, sexual revolution of the 1950s and the consequences have now arrived in the 21st century and now the attempt to socially approve what we ought to be disapproving of as a cultural value and what we ought to be responding to as a cultural challenge.

Single parenting is a cultural challenge with moral and spiritual implications and we ought to respond to it, not attempt to normalize it and say that it is not a problem and, in fact, ought to be embraced as a way of life. Not if we really have any senses.

AS CHRISTIANS, LET’S PRACTICE WHAT WE PREACH AND PREACH WHAT WE PRACTICE

Let me finish this way, Tom, with two comments. Here’s what’s really interesting: the secular elite, who would celebrate not single parents, but single parenting, actually are the second largest demographic of consistency in marriage. The No. 1 demographic of those who get married and stay married are evangelical Christians. The No. 2 are college-educated, six-figure families.

In other words, college-educated, six-figure families, while in their secularism promote rebellion against God’s creation laws of sex within marriage and marriage between one man and one woman actually, in practice, are the second-largest demographic who embrace God’s creation laws — at least the notion that they get married and stay married more than the cultural norms that they are promoting in the sexual revolution and in their secularism.

In other words, they live differently than what they’re telling others to live and destroying the lives of others while, themselves, embracing God’s order of marriage. The only ones who do so more consistently are those who affirm marriage and staying in marriage as evangelical Christians and are engaged in the local church.

The second thing I would say is this to the church: Let’s respond to the challenge of single-parenting with grace, compassion, and resources in assisting single parents, but let’s not glorify single-parenting. Let’s work hard at pre-marital counseling, marital counseling, Gospel evangelism of men and women and the impact in their marriages. Let’s, in discipleship, reinstitute and burnish brightly the foundational value of marriages that begin in the Lord, that stay in the Lord. And let’s bring the value of marriage as a creation ordinance as we promote it in the ministry of common grace throughout society.

GOD CALLS US TO PROMOTE MARRIAGE FOR ALL PEOPLE’S GOOD

If we love people made in the image of God, we will promote the most foundational institution in society that God has created for the well-being of society, and that is a marriage of a man and a woman that is monogamous, covenantal, heterosexual marriage that makes every effort as the vow says, “for better or for worse,” to stay the course and raise children within the boundaries of a home where they have a father and a mother, both supplying what’s necessary physically, financially, morally, culturally and spiritually in the life of the next generation.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Freedoms of speech, religion go hand in hand and are being threatened — even in Christian college classes

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KICKED OUT OF CHRISTIANITY CLASS FOR DEFENDING CHRISTIAN IDEALS?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, a number of pundits have said, concerning the California Supreme Court case where pro-life centers have been asked by the State of California to promote state-funded abortions, “You better be careful. This is not just a freedom of religion situation. This is a freedom of speech situation.”

DR. REEDER: Tom, there’s a very interesting case here in the United States on one of our campuses. In a class on Christianity, there was an attempt to promote a transgender ideology in opposition to a Biblical world and life view of gender. When the professor was confronted with a simple statement of the student, freedom of speech became an issue then.

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TOM LAMPRECHT: It took place at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Lake Ingle, a senior there, basically challenged the professor, Alison Downie, and questioned her concerning the fact that he says, “Biology says there’s only two genders.” He was a Religion major — he needs this class to graduate. He was booted out of this class for making that statement.

DR. REEDER: And, amazingly, what was the class name, Tom?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Christianity 481: Self, Sin and Salvation.

DR. REEDER: Here’s a guy in Christianity 481, a Religion major, who speaks up for the Christian world and life view that God’s actually made two sexes, male and female, is now silenced and booted out of class and told, “If you say that again, you can’t stay in the class. And, by the way, that’ll just cost you your degree that you’ve been laboring on.

Here, again, we see another tether between freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Tom, now let me just back up just for a moment. Let’s go to school with me in the ninth grade. My father and mother had a very incorrigible son — that son was me.

Even in the midst of my self-absorbed rebellion against God, I had a teacher named — I still remember him — Robert Woodburn. I’ll never forget how he would show up to class passionate about his subject which was, in the ninth grade, the requirement in a class on civics and the civic foundations of this country and it utterly fascinated me.

WHY IS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM SO PROMINENT IN THE CONSTITUTION?

Here’s what I begin to see, not that every founding father was a Christian, but the Christian world and life view and the founding fathers that were Christians greatly affected the non-Christians, even the deists, even the lukewarm deists like a Thomas Jefferson and a Benjamin Franklin, who kept kind of coming in and out of the influence of Christianity through preachers like George Whitfield and his own pastor there in Philadelphia.

And the result is, as Os Guinness has noted and we have noted, this extraordinary Declaration of Independence with these four references to God in the content as the source of our inalienable rights and that, in true submission to true authority, you must resist tyrannical authority, not only as a right but as a responsibility.

The result is this providential intervention of God in the winning of our American Independence under the Declaration of Independence. The influence of Christianity on that document was already seen by those in England when a Parliamentarian named Horace Walpole stands up and says, “Well, that’s the end of it. America has run off with a Presbyterian parson,” and they were referring to not only the influence of Christianity and the influence of the Presbyterians and the influence of a particular Presbyterian named John Witherspoon who had a direct influence on 13 of the commissioners in the Constitutional Congress.

And the result on one of them was the major role of James Madison, who had two degrees from Princeton underneath the influence of John Witherspoon and, basically, the borrowing of the Presbyterian system of government in the church and applying it to a federal government. Notice the federal headship and the covenantal nature of government as a reflection of the federal headship of King Jesus over His covenant people and His provision of three offices of a Minister of the Word and of Deacons and Elders and how there is to be a king.

KINGSHIP OF CHRIST COMES IN RECOGNITION OF FREEDOMS

However, in the government, the way you honor the kingship of Christ is to make His Law king and the influence of the Law of God over what becomes the king of America, Lex Rex — the law is king — and that is the Constitution that is given to us as it is signed “In the Year of Our Lord,” therefore, the sovereign hand of God upon the Constitution.

Then, the enormously effective movement of the 10 Bill of Rights: the personal rights and the rights of the states in this new federal government. The first Bill of Rights, the First Amendment, with its six affirmations of liberty, and perhaps the three most important was the first one, the freedom of religion; the second one, the freedom of speech; and thirdly, the freedom of the press in order to hold accountable government.

And, therefore, an open public square for the free exchange of ideas, which meant also the free practice of religion, not just in the walls of the church or in a state-approved church, but in the lives of the people and their families. And this freedom that had been won had been ordered — instead of moving into the anarchy of the French Revolution, had been ordered — by the Constitution and now was matured and maintained in its continual development by the Bill of Rights, in general, and the First Amendment, in particular, and the free speech, and free practice of religion and free press provisions, specifically.

WHY DID THE FOUNDING FATHERS CONSIDER THIS SO IMPORTANT?

Tom, out of all of the discussions around the Constitution, in general, and the Bill of Rights, in particular, out of all of the discussions, Tom, the one that took the least was the freedom of religion and the one that became passionately embraced was the freedom of speech. Why? Because our founding fathers knew that the way the state would establish its supremacy at a federal level would be to control the church, silence the church and control and silence the free speech of its citizens.

And they were attempting to protect both of those because a fascist state or a tyrannical state always shuts down freedom of speech, freedom of press and the free practice of religion in order to maintain its supremacy and expand its authority and supremacy. It is no accident that we’re seeing legislative initiatives and judicial tactics to silence, to shame and to marginalize the free practice of religion and the freedom of speech.

It is the very anticipation of this that caused our founding fathers, from a Christian world and Life view, to affirm the Bill of Rights, particularly the first right, the right of liberty and free practice of religion, free press and free speech.

HOW CHRISTIANS RESPOND TO RISING OPPRESSION OF FREEDOMS

TOM LAMPRECHT: How ought the Christians react to this attempt to restrict the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech?

DR. REEDER: First, Christians should be praying for both boldness and effectiveness as they stay faithful to Christ and the mission of making disciples through evangelism and discipleship; the second thing, Tom, a reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit; thirdly, to be passionate; and fourthly, to be persistent and stay the course.

Whenever the government and the media attempt to remove not only God-given rights and freedoms protected in the Constitution, whenever that happens, Christians and churches are not going to be able to hide. They may think if they cower away like a frightened puppy into our little Christian corner that they’re going to get away and be tolerated.

No, they will not. They’ll either leave their faithfulness to their message and their mission and, therefore, come under the discipline of the Lord or they will be further isolated until they just simply become a part of the culture of the world instead of the salt and light of the kingdom of God in the world.

COMING UP: SINGLE PARENTHOOD IS LAUDED WITH NATIONAL DAY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Wednesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to note that March 21st was National Single Parent Day. That has caused an interesting debate between The New York Times — Robert Samuelson, who’s a syndicated columnist — and Tucker Carlson has also weighed in on this issue.

DR. REEDER: The unlikely intersection of Tucker Carlson and Robert Samuelson and their response to a New York Times editorial.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

States are trying to criminalize the free speech of those seeking to protect unborn life

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PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT IN THE COURTS, TESTING CONSTITUTIONALITY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, we talked about the California case that had their oral arguments before the Supreme Court. It’s a situation where pro-life centers in California were being forced to say certain things in promoting state-supported abortion facilities, telling women that they had that as an option. Obviously, that is something that goes contrary to what the pro-life centers wanted to promote. Harry, today, I’d like to take this a step further and talk about the bias that’s going on in certain cases in courts and in the media that perhaps are trying to influence what’s going on at the Supreme Court level.  

DR. REEDER: You and I have noticed that there is an upsurge in judicial and governmental silencing, shaming and marginalizing of the pro-life movement. You have to realize that the secular elite, which affect so much of the government and so much of the media, has a vested interest in promoting abortion and the murder of unborn children in the womb.

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What we’re talking about is the 99% of abortions that are there because the child is less than perfect, is not wanted, is a consequence of the sexual revolution, “I don’t want another mouth to feed,” or, “I don’t want to be bothered” — therefore, we now have a culture that says the woman has a right to kill the child.

In reality, what we’re doing is actually creating a culture to tell women not simply, “You can kill the child” — as horrific as that is — “You actually ought to kill the child.” And, Tom, this is what we’re talking about today, now the secular elite, through governmental pressure and media persuasion, is attempting to silence those who would say, “Hold it. Time out. This is a life. You cannot constitutionally take the life of a person. There is a right to life, not a right to murder a life in the Constitution.”

The Constitution knows no such legal right to kill children, whether they’re in the womb or in the arms of the mother and now that those who are being either motivated because of a Christian world and life view that every life is sacred, made in the image of God and deserves to be protected by society, and those who are motivated simply on a Constitutional basis, they are now attempting to be silenced by the secular media, the secular elite, and now by a secularist fascist government.

COURT CASES CAN BECOME UNFAIR PLAYING FIELDS FOR PRO-LIFERS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, in fact, let me take you to a situation up in Michigan where Michigan District Judge Marc Barron sentenced activists last week to 12 months’ probation, eight days of community service in court fines and restitution to an abortion center where they were doing a protest. He also ordered them to stay 500 feet away.

That kind of sentencing isn’t a really big surprise, but what is interesting is a spokesperson for the activist made this statement: “During the trial, the judge prohibited the defendants from mentioning abortion or their pro-life views, something he said is standard practice for trials involving pro-lifers at abortion centers. Why? As long as the unborn are not recognized as persons, pro-lifers who defend them are basically hung out to dry.”

DR. REEDER: There’s two things: one is these exorbitant punitive steps to criminalize those who are exercising free speech to protect the life of the unborn and the other is these extraordinary measures to curtail free speech in order to eviscerate the argument of the pro-life activist in the court. In other words, “We’re not going to let you mount your defense that you are protecting life because we’re not going to allow you to say that the unborn child is a person.”

Therefore, when you rule out someone’s defense, then they can’t have a defense and, therefore, the jury can be persuaded in the direction of the predisposed commitment of the judiciary, which means governmental power to thwart the purposes of justice and the constitutional arguments of those who are appealing into the right to life in the Constitution and the fact that the child is a person and, therefore, has a life and, therefore, has a right to life.

THIS EMPHASIS IN THE MEDIA SEEKS TO CURTAIL FREEDOM

And, again, Tom, you, I think rightly, connected this upsurge of media focus, governmental intrusion, and judicial prejudicial action. You are seeing this curtailing the freedom of those who are motivated by religious purposes and those who want to defend themselves and, therefore, curtailing their freedom of speech because those ideas will win the day in the public square and in the court when there’s a jury present and, therefore, the court is attempting to keep the status quo of a culture of death as a legal and accepted practice and even try to assign morality to the killing of children instead of allowing those who would argue for the morality of a right to life.

Tom, I believe you’re seeing this because the reality is I think the argument for the right to life is beginning to win the day throughout the culture, particularly, toward the millennial generation and the generation coming up under the millennial generation.

GUN VIOLENCE WALK-OUTS NOW BECOMING ABORTION WALK-OUTS?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Many people are familiar with the fact there was the walkout over the shooting that took place down in Florida. What’s happening right now, students are beginning to launch a campaign to start a pro-life walkout using the hashtag #life on social media. We don’t know yet whether the school administrators will allow this to happen or not. We do know that a principal at Rockland High School out in Sacramento California was planning to sit down and have a conversation with the student that’s heading this up.

DR. REEDER: By the way, there’s another one in Minneapolis I’m aware of. Out of the concern of gun violence, also just simply pointed out that there is violence against life including abortion and was addressing the sanctity of life across the board in terms of a student response. On the same day that students were walking out over the issue of gun violence, they just broadened it to the sanctity of life.

So, Tom, there are a number of situations that are happening. When the secular elite see that, what they want to do because they want to preserve this right to kill children… Let’s remember that abortion is the sacrament of the sexual revolution.

And I think there’s something else that needs to be understood. Because this sanctity of life issue is in the final analysis a moral and therefore religious issue that all life is sacred because life is created in the image of God and because of that motivation, the reality is I want to send a message to the secular elite to the judicial demagogues and fascist governmental attempts to intimidate the sanctity of life movement: it’s not going to work.

INTIMIDATION BECOMES INSPIRATION

For those of you who think you can kill the consequence of a Christian world and life view such as the sanctity of life by intimidation, attempting to silence and shame Christians, you actually provide a motivation for Christians. If you go to the nations who have attempted to not just kill Christian ideals, but kill Christians, look at the explosion of Christianity in China and go look at the explosion of Christianity in India right now.

I can promise you that you are actually engaged in a tactic that, throughout 2,000 years, has been used in the hands of a sovereign God to actually accomplish the opposite of what you think it will accomplish. Therefore, when you bring the power of the press and the power of the state to shame and silence Christianity and a Christian world and life view, what you’re actually going to do is motivate Christians to faithfulness.

Because, when it finally becomes clear: are we to obey God or men, there is no doubt what we will do. We will both live and speak to men the truth of God. We’ll do it in love, but we won’t stop doing it out of fear. Therefore, your intimidation actually becomes an inspiration.

COMING UP TUESDAY: FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGION INTERTWINED

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I would look at the connection between the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. We saw it in the California Supreme Court case and we’re seeing it around the world as well.

DR. REEDER: And, tomorrow, I think we’re going to see the ingenuity and the wisdom of the Christian world and life view on our founding fathers in the development of our Constitutional documents.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Christian movie revenue shocks Hollywood, blows past estimates — here’s why you need to see it

(Movieclips/ YouTube)

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NEW MOVIE ROCKS BOX OFFICE WITH CHRISTIAN MESSAGE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, so often on this podcast, we have to talk about situations that are in the news that aren’t overly pleasant or exciting and sometimes they can be downright depressing.

Today, I want to talk about something that, in fact, your church, Briarwood, has been involved in. It’s an outreach event but it’s also an entertainment event. It’s the new movie that’s just out, entitled “I Can Only Imagine.” It’s a faith-based film from Roadside Attractions. Friends who have been on this program before, directors Andrew and John Erwin, are the directors.

It surprised a lot of people this past weekend, Harry, as Variety reports “I Can Only Imagine” hauled in $17.1 million at 1,600 movie theaters across North America. The estimates put it originally at the $2 million to $8 million range, so it has exceeded everyone’s expectations.

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FILMMAKERS BRING CHRISTIANITY TO THE THEATERS

HARRY REEDER: That’s been a real answer to prayer as we prayed for the Lord to bless the use of this. We do enjoy the Erwin brothers and have a great relationship with them with many, many conversations about “Christian world and life view” entertainment and their abilities and insights are so encouraging — what they’ve done.

If you’ve never seen the movie “Woodlawn” that they did, you need to do that. They’ve put out about three or four excellent movies. They came to us with this one and we began to talk about it. I immediately brought our staff to see it because I felt this would be a great outreach. It’s not a sermon put to a film; it is a story that brings the truth of the Gospel but told in terms of story form, which they did really, really well.

Three things about it when you go:

— Expect to enjoy it

— Take your spouse

— Be sure and bring a handkerchief.

But, by the way, I would encourage you not only to take your spouse, but do what we did where we reserved some venues for the showing of it, made the tickets available at a lower cost to our people if they would bring someone whom they were sharing the Gospel with, and then determined to afterward’s have an ice cream or have a cup of coffee and talk about what you have heard.

MOVIE TELLS STORY OF REPENTANCE AND CONVERSION

In a sense, I can sum it up this way: There is the very famous song that was triple platinum, “I Can Only Imagine.” It did all the crossover. Bart Miller was the writer and singer of the song. The movie tells the story behind the song, which is a story of — if I can put it in his words: “How did the man I hated the most become the man I wanted to be most like?”

And it was the conversion of his father and what God did in the life of his father and how that set him free in the things that he had dealt with his whole life under the abusive relationship with his dad.

Dennis Quaid, the actor of the father, turns in a masterful performance. By the way, you also get a look at Cloris Leachman. She’s still acting and, in fact, not to give away too much, it’s her comment that becomes a stimulation to the song that Bart Miller writes.

It’s just an amazing story. You’ve got to go see it, but please make use of it. Go enjoy it as a date night and then go take two or three people after you’ve seen it and prepare yourself to go back to see it.

STUNNING NUMBERS AS IT BEATS OUT HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTERS

Now, what’s interesting, Tom, it almost knocked off three other movies.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Yeah, in fact, Harry, it came in third place. “Black Panther” and “Tomb Raider” did a little bit better than “I Can Only Imagine,” but beat out the new Disney film, “A Wrinkle in Time.”

DR. REEDER: It beat out a number — a number — of films that Hollywood was utterly committed to. And they had pretty well dismissed this and here it is in a fraction of theaters — those other theaters were well over the 2,000 mark that they were available in — but, in 1,600 theater openings, it was able to do this well.

MAKING THE MOVIE AFFECTED FAITH OF THE ACTORS AND AUDIENCE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, faithit.com has reported that, apparently, being a part of this movie has rekindled in Dennis Quaid a desire to have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, after this production was over, he went back and finished writing a song dedicated to his mom, which he started more than 25 years ago entitled, “On My Way to Heaven.”

DR. REEDER: If you go Google all that, you’ll find a link you can hear about his new song that he wrote. He sent it off to his brother, fellow actor Randy Quaid. Both had made a profession of faith earlier in life and he’d been on a search. And then he said the movie has rekindled the effects of that search, which is all about Jesus.

And, of course, that’s what I pray for, for not only this actor who portrayed the part of Bart’s father who was converted by the wonderful work of God’s grace in his life. Playing the part, Dennis Quaid has acknowledged his own relationship with Christ. The famous director, Sharon Stone — now, this isn’t the actress, but the famous Hollywood director, Sharon Stone — went to see it with her son and she acknowledged that when the movie was over, nobody moved. Everyone just sat there. In fact, you could hear the sobs and you could just sense the emotional impact of the moment.

However, when she did get up to leave with her son, a lady with tears running down her eyes said, “Do you know Jesus?” and this director of Hollywood said, “Yes, I do.” And then she said, “I think I’ve got to go and get a Bart Miller fix with Jesus,” and she said, “Well, let’s talk about it.” And so, they sat down and talked about it and, afterwards, she said the lady said, “God brought me here to hear this today and now we get to go home together.”

FILM OFFERS CHANCE TO “IMAGINE” OUR FUTURE IN HEAVEN

What an extraordinary statement and that’s, by the way, a good way that this can be used: Use the title, “I Can Only Imagine,” and say, “You know, you don’t have to imagine. You can actually know.” We don’t know everything that’s going to happen in the new heavens and the new earth, but we do know how to get there. You don’t have to imagine how to get there — in fact, one of the reasons the Bible was written was so that you can know how to get to Heaven and you can know what actually makes Heaven glorious.

Tom, one of the verses in the Bible explicitly said that this is a purpose of the writing of the Bible, 1 John 5:13. “These things have I written that you might know that you have eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.”

We also know what makes Heaven glorious. Jesus said this, “I go to prepare a place for you so that, where I am, there you may be also.” Oh, the glories of what makes Heaven glorious is we’ll be with the Savior, Who came from Heaven to go to a cross to save us from our sins. And, if you’ll come to Him by faith and repentance and receive the gift of eternal life, turning from your sins, then you can not only imagine, you can know for certain that you’re headed to Heaven and then we can begin to imagine what will that be like to be with Jesus and with each other for all eternity, not only without sin, but without even the ability to sin?

LOOK FOR AND SUPPORT QUALITY FILMS THAT EVANGELIZE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, as we close out, let me remind our listeners that if they would like more information on quality films that they can take friends and family to, we would recommend movieguide.org.

DR. REEDER: World Magazine does reviews of films, as well. In fact, World Magazine — as most of our listeners will recognize because we quote from it — it’s a magazine devoted to looking at culture from a Christian world and life view.

It’s so interesting how Hollywood looks at this and they can’t understand how the Neanderthal public could walk away from all these other films that they put out and move to this film that they thought was going to have a $2 million showing and they just can’t understand it. Tom, this is why we do this program: They can’t understand it because of their presuppositions.

TIME TO SHOW HOLLYWOOD AND THE WORLD WHY WE HAVE FAITH

They can’t understand it because of their faith-driven world and life view. In their world and life view, there is no redemption. In their world and life view, there’s nothing to repent of. In their world and life view, there’s “all about me,” instead of finding out that it’s all about the glory of God and a God that’s so glorious that He provides a way for us to be right with Him and that, when you get right with Him through Jesus Christ, then reconciliation with others becomes a glorious consequential blessing and they just cannot sense that. They just are absolutely convinced there has to be a material, a natural explanation.

No, here is the explanation: the reason that there’s such brokenness in this world is sin. The answer to sin is Jesus and, when you come to Jesus Christ, you not only get right with God, God comes right within your life. And when he gets right within your life, you start getting right with everyone around you, just as this wonderful story depicts.

I can’t wait for you to see it and I can’t wait for you to enjoy it. And I can’t wait for more Christians to get involved in this industry of storytelling through the performing arts and I can’t wait for you to use this as a platform to bring other people so that they can say, “I can only imagine what the new heavens and the new earth looks like but I don’t have to imagine about how to get there. I can know for certain. Here’s what Jesus says, ‘Truly, truly, he who believes in me has eternal life.’”

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country. Her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

Care about free speech? Keep your eyes on Supreme Court dealing with California abortion law

(Pixabay)

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SUPREME COURT HEARS CALIFORNIA CRISIS CENTER CASE

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, today, I would like to take you to a story that The Washington Post has covered. As we record this program, there are oral arguments going on before the United States Supreme Court dealing with a California abortion law, which is supposed to protect women but what it does is it forces pro-life clinics to deliver a message they abhor. That is, they’re supposed to promote the fact that the State of California provides contraceptive services and abortion services for women.

DR. REEDER: This is absolutely astounding that the California law is still standing. This law, which is basically telling over 200 crisis pregnancy center-type clinics that receive no state funding, “You have to give a message that affirms abortion, and venues for abortion and that the state will pay for your abortifacient contraceptives or the abortion procedure.”

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DO THEY REALLY WANT CHOICE?

The very thing that they’re there to stop, the very thing that they’re there to give women another alternative, which is to give birth to their child and then either help in raising the child or help in finding a good adoption agency for the child, which is what they exist for. If they do not comply with the state law, there is criminal liability and there are extraordinary fines and fees that would basically put all of these crisis pregnancy centers out of existence.

LAWS LIKE THIS ARE A CLEAR VIOLATION OF FREE SPEECH

Now, such laws have been attempted in other states but, by and large, have failed because once they have arrived at district and appellate courts, then it has been determined that these laws are violations of free speech.

There’s two ways you violate free speech: one is you tell people what they have to say and, two, you tell people what they cannot say. Here is a law that’s telling them they cannot give the pro-life message without also giving the pro-death message of abortion: how to obtain one and how to fund one through state taxation, which is another issue. If you live in the state of California, your tax money now goes to the destruction of the unborn life.

Now, all of the other laws have been struck down, Tom, except this one. This one got to the infamous 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and was upheld. So now this is getting to the Supreme Court which, by the way, is pretty amazing that the Supreme Court took it on because the Supreme Court, since Roe v. Wade, has basically found a way to dodge most abortion cases that have sought to gain a standing or a hearing in front of the Supreme Court but they have decided to take this one.

And now we’re about to find out, these Supreme Court justices, will they uphold their vow to uphold the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, which forbids the coercion of speech by the power of the state. And that’s ultimately what we’re about to find out on the Supreme Court level.

WHY PRO-CHOICE GROUPS ARE WORRIED

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me read you a statement that the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America made concerning these clinics that are trying to defend themselves before the Supreme Court. The president said, “They are facilities that intentionally prey on women at a vulnerable moment in their lives by pushing medically inaccurate information.”

DR. REEDER: Let’s take this up on about three different levels. One is notice the name of this organization: pro-choice. No, it’s not pro-choice. They’re trying to stop an organization that’s designed to give women another choice. The state and the culture of California promotes the choice of murder of the unborn infant. Now you have a crisis pregnancy center, at its own cost, that is attempting to give to women another choice which is life, not death.

There’s something else, by the way, in this law I need to mention for accuracy’s sake: The state law of California will provide an exception to any crisis pregnancy center if they will provide abortifacient contraceptives. That’s an oxymoron. An abortifacient is destroying a conceived egg and sperm. Therefore, there’s nothing be prevented in terms of conception at all.

Tom, this also tells me a third thing and that’s this: that the abortion industry, at least in the state of California, legislatures are absolutely concerned that they’re losing the battle. They’re losing the battle in the terms of the battle of ideas, the battle of hearts and the battles of lives. What that tells you is, when you resort to the power of the state and coercion, that becomes a direct revelation that you’re losing the battle in the hearts and souls and minds of the culture, itself.

We see free speech under attack on the college campuses, we see free speech under attack in the entertainment industry, we see free speech under attack in almost every venue — something that is fundamentally foundational to the life and vitality of this nation, the notion of the free contest of ideas in the public square.

And now the government has weighed in: “We will criminalize you and we will fine you into non-existence in order to coerce the speech that we approve in the crisis pregnancy centers.” While this has significant impact for 200 crisis pregnancy centers in the state of California, there are thousands across the nation that are waiting to see what will happen in this particular ruling.

MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR BANS ABORTIONS AFTER 15 WEEKS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me take you from California down to Mississippi, where the governor there, Phil Bryant, signed a law that bans abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation, down from the current 20-week ban the state has in effect. This is the earliest any state has banned abortion and, no doubt, will face additional legal challenges.

DR. REEDER: Yes, I appreciate greatly his statement. The governor said: I gladly sign this because I would like for Mississippi to become the safest place for a child in the womb.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Well, let me tell you what Planned Parenthood Southeast tweeted concerning this. They said, “This is a part of a targeted attack on #roevwade and a blatant attempt to chip away at a woman’s bodily autonomy.”

DR. HARRY REEDER: Well, first of all, let me just say to this Planned Parenthood, yes, this is an attack on Roe v. Wade, which ought never to have been in existence. It is one of what I call the five most destructive opinions of the Supreme Court to our nation. Roe v. Wade takes its place along the inane opinions such as Dredd Scott and others.

And Planned Parenthood’s second comment that it was an attack on a woman’s bodily autonomy, no, this is a law that’s designed to preserve the life of a child whether a woman carries a child in her arms or in her womb. This child has a body, this child has a right to life, this child’s life is sacred, protected by the Constitution and, from a Biblical world and life view, is created in the image of God from the moment of conception on.

This is not an attack simply on the matter of a woman’s bodily autonomy — this is a declaration of the sanctity of the life of the child and the bodily life of the child is to be protected no matter where it is located in these absolutely dependent stages early in life, the dependent stage within the womb and the dependent stage in the arms on the way home from the hospital to be cared for.

ANSWER IS A GOSPEL MOVEMENT

Tom, let me just make one more statement from a Christian world and life view. We need to remember that, ultimately, the answer to this is a Gospel movement whereby men and women’s hardness of hearts is affected by the power of the Gospel of grace. And, throughout our nation, we see the development of a culture of life in opposition to the death spiral of this culture of death.

Secondly, Tom, is that believers from a Christian world and life view continue to address this issue in multiple ways:

— Adoption for the children: “You’re not unwanted”

— Care for the women in crisis pregnancy: “You are loved.”

–Outreach throughout the culture and the outreach of the Gospel to abortionists as well as those who are being deceived that abortion is the answer to a crisis pregnancy. Bring the Good News that Jesus loves sinners and Jesus will set us free from all of our sins and we can have a culture of life instead of a culture of death.

COMING UP FRIDAY: DATE NIGHT MEETS EVANGELISM

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, we want to give our listeners some recommendations for a possible date night.

DR. REEDER: That’s right, Friday night date night. That’s a great idea. Ours used to be Friday night and now it’s Thursday night, but it’s still a great date night and I’ve got a great suggestion for you. By the way, I’ve also got a suggestion for at least a side-door opportunity for evangelism.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

(Image: Pixabay)

Why pornography is far from ‘victimless’ and how to quit using it

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HOW PORNOGRAPHY AFFECTS CHRISTIAN LIFE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I would like to take you to an interview today that Evangelical Focus did on pornography and sexual distortion. It was done with Glen Harrison. Dr. Harrison is a British psychiatrist and he’s also a Christian author. He says that pornography creates an illusion of control because it offers access to sexual stimulation so quickly and easily. He talks about the number of young people — I mean young, young people — who are now getting caught up in pornography and how it is distorting their whole view of sexuality.

DR. REEDER: This epidemic of pornography has produced not only distortion of God’s precious gift of sexuality, it has also produced anarchy. People will say that pornography is a “victimless crime.” Well, I would just have you go back to the month of December in 2017 when six of these porn stars took their lives in depression. There they were in their early 20s.

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Also, look at what happens in marriages as, particularly, men are affected by this and what they then demand, and what they call for and how they begin to view their spouse. In the whole pornography industry, the person observed for stimulation then becomes objectified. They aren’t real people — they’re just something for one’s own pleasure. Then the objectivization of the spouse takes place after people get addicted to these activities.

Another dynamic is you’re a victim because these things that are viewed are then cemented into one’s life through the most powerful experience that is known to humanity, reaching far beyond cocaine and heroin.

And then, these things, they are actually designed to take you from sexual distortion to sexual depravity into sexual anarchy and the victimless crimes? Oh, no, not by any means. All you have to do is observe the #MeToo movement. Those who have made these assaults upon women, you will find a life of pornography.

You will also see something else that is documented and that is #ThemToo, referring to the fact that there is a significant number of those who are caught up in the addiction of pornography that then carry out their distortions of sexuality upon the mentally incapable, upon those who are disabled — disabled physically, disabled mentally and those who are dissipated toward the end of their life — and that story that is not covered by the media has proportions that are absolutely staggering.

No, this is not a victimless crime and this is not a matter of just personal pleasure that one does in the privacy of their life. And, of course, the greatest victims of all are those whose lives are destroyed to provide this “adult entertainment.” There is probably no term that is more inaccurate than to call pornography “adult entertainment.” There’s nothing adult about it.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we have literally thousands of individuals that listen to this podcast. No doubt, there are some believers that are caught up in pornography and they’re saying to themselves, “Pastor Reeder, I hear you. I can’t get out of it.” Harry, what would you say to that individual?

DR. REEDER: Oh, yes you can. Oh, yes you can. Believe me, I know you can. How do you do it? Well, first of all, name it for what it is: it’s sin. It is adultery in the heart and it is even worse than that because of its objectivization of the other gender.

HOW TO REPENT FOR THE SIN

Name it and ask God to forgive you from it. He will. He can remove the shame and the guilt and erase it away and Jesus died to pay for that sin.

Then, secondly, ask God for the grace to turn from that sin. Don’t try to go into the, “Well, I’m just going to kind of wean myself off of it.” Oh, no, no. Just pluck out right eyes and cut off right hands. We’re ready to walk away from this. We are absolutely ready to do it and the Bible tells us that, the addictions of life, God can set us free from.

Then you believe to build in your life a new way of life. Get rid of your secret life — everyone in pornography has a secret life of places they go, computers they visit, sites they go to. Get rid of all of that.

ACCOUNTABILITY MATTERS

Next, get accountability in your life, starting with your spouse if you’re married. Get accountability. If you’re not married, get your parents involved or get some close friends involved in your life. Take the steps that you need to bring accountability in your life.

You say, “Well, Pastor, I’m accountable to the Lord in God’s grace.” Great, but it’s fine to be accountable to other people. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another. The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

I’ve got three guys that have helped me through all of my issues of life. We have been holding each other accountable and praying for each other for 34 years. I need that band of brothers and so do you need them.

Men and women need to get some other men and women in their life. Men, get some men in your life. Women, get some women in your life that are mature and spiritual and can hold you accountable while they pray for you.

HOW TO BREAK THE CHAINS OF PORNOGRAPHY

And then what do you do? You create something bigger in your life. Ultimately, pornography is idolatry. It is saying to God, “You’re not enough.” It is making a god of sexual gratification and stimulation. You’re willing to put this ahead of God, before God, and eradicate God: idolatry.

You are willing to even destroy other people’s lives — and you do. You’re willing to destroy the blessing of sexual courtship, intimacy and romance within the context of marriage. You’ve got to say no to that. “This is idolatry.”

That means get a big God in your life. Know who God is. Know what Jesus has done in your life. Then, get big relationships in your life. The enemy of pornography is meaningful relationships. I asked God to not only give me a nausea for pornography, but I ask God to give me a love for my wife that was so filling there was no room anywhere else in my life. And, when you falter — notice what I said “when you falter” because, to some degree, you’re going to falter — then immediately, right then, go to that accountability person, go to the Lord in prayer, ask God to forgive you.

BUILDING UP A FULFILLING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND SPOUSE

Rebuild the fences in your life, rebuild the stepping stones in your life and get your heart and your mind back fixed on Jesus because that’s the issue. The issue was idolatry — for that moment, you decided that idol was going to bring meaning to your life and you found out it didn’t, here comes the shame and the guilt but now we’re back to Jesus and forgiveness.

Now we’re back to the Spirit of God, fill me. Back to the Word of God, fill me. Back to meaningful relationships, fill me. And then, if you’re married, begin to develop the blessings to true sexuality.

That is a glorious, regular, giving — not taking, giving — relationship between a man and a woman in a marriage bed that is honorable as you enter into sexuality, not to take, but to give and that the body of the husband belongs to his wife and the body of the wife belongs to her husband and you do not defraud one another except for spiritual times of prayer and fasting.

When the blessing of intimacy occurs, there is no turning away of the face and you’re able to look at one another in the eyes because God gave you a heart that gave your body to that person instead of taking the body of that person for yourself.

And, if you’re not yet married, you begin to prepare yourself, “God, prepare me to be someone who understands the right role of Biblical sexuality within marriage and not to allow idolatry of sexuality. Sexual gratification outside of marriage brings destruction and brings despair and nothing gratifying.

Idolatry never works, but what does work is the love of God and the love of God that is filling to overflowing. And, in the overflowing, it matures you so that you’re ready for a true intimacy within the boundaries of a marriage and the covenantal blessings of sexuality.

(Resource for help overcoming pornography: Harvest Ministries.)

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

(Image: File)

Cultural Marxists are using schools, courts to target Christianity

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CHRISTIAN STUDENT GROUP FIGHTS UNIVERSITY IN COURT AND WINS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Fox News is reporting, Harry, a Christian student group has been welcomed back on campus at Wayne State University after threatening a lawsuit for being unfairly booted out. It was the InterVarsity Program, a program that had been at Wayne State University for 75 years. Now, nothing has really changed with InterVarsity so why did they get booted out? When they decided to recertify themselves as an official student organization, they wrote on the form as they had every other year before that InterVarsity is committed to welcoming all students but they would not necessarily have all students be a part of their group’s leadership selection.

DR. REEDER: Well, first of all, I’m grateful that they’re back on campus. And notice they got back on campus when they said they were going to go and challenge the ruling in court. Now, I think they were brought back on the campus, not because the administration changed its mind, but the administration knew they were going to lose in court.

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IS CULTURAL MARXISM AT WORK AND WHAT IS IT?

Why would they be going to court? Tom, there is a movement called Cultural Marxism and it’s a very clear movement and I would encourage our listeners to do some research on it. Cultural Marxism is basically the fallback from the collapse of Communism.

Communism built a Marxist view of life based upon economics, but the economic foundations of socialism in general but communism in particular, basically collapsed. There’s still socialists that get a hearing in various situations, not the least of which is the previous candidate for presidency, Bernie Sanders. We’re fully aware that that’s there but, by and large, the success is being accomplished in cultural Marxism.

Now, what is cultural Marxism do? Well, cultural Marxism targets Christianity. There’s a reason why all of the Communist nations remove Christianity and killed Christians. That’s the one ideology that they cannot stand against.

By definition, Marxism is atheistic. The rationale and the truth and the power of the theistic foundations of Christianity cannot be denied and will always, ultimately, undo the irrationality of atheism so what they’ve done is they’ve gone after cultural Marxism, which is to create movements whereby Christians and Christian thinkers and Christian institutions are mocked, or shamed, or marginalized and, if at all possible, silenced and that’s why they go after them to silence them, particularly, in the halls of learning.

They certainly don’t want to debate the ideas because their ideas will always lose under the onslaught of Biblical Christianity’s rationality — suprarationality — and its accuracy in dealing with the reality of creation, redemption and the doctrine of providence and that is how God sustains His creation — ow did we get here, how can you be saved and how are we sustained?

INSTITUTIONS ARE SURPRISED BY CHRISTIANS WHO FIGHT IN COURT

And, therefore, there is a desire to remove them from the public square. Many times, it works because what you do is you bring it into the court system where you’re going to have allies in these judges and whereby you’ve got volunteers as lawyers or you’ve raise the money for these lawyers and then these Christian organizations, they don’t have lawyers, they don’t have the ability to raise the money to go to court so, many times, they just successfully legally ostracize them and legally alienate them while they culturally attempt to shame them.

InterVarsity decided, “Nope, we’re going to go to court.” As soon as that message came, then Wayne State backed out immediately because they knew what would happen if they went to court.

Why do I take the time to walk through that? Because there is a movement among Christians today which is, “Well, if they’re going to kick these organizations off campus, let’s just go off campus. Let’s go ahead and give it to them. Let’s be humble and let them shame us into silence or shame us into abdicating from our presence on the campus.

And, by the way, if you lose the case and if they force you off the campus, yeah, just go across the street, and open up a ministry and start reaching out to the campus — that’s fine — but I don’t think you should willingly walk over there in order to manifest some sense of humility. I think, in humility, we’re willing to go there. Humility will show in the manner of how we contest the issues, but I don’t think humility is don’t contest the issues.

HOW DID THE APOSTLE PAUL FIGHT LEGAL SYSTEMS?

Let me use the apostle Paul. There are arguably three times — at least two times — that the apostle Paul, when he was being silenced, appealed to his citizenship rights within Rome. Now, why did he do that? One case arguably saved his life, humanly speaking, the other case, arguably, was unnecessary because he was about to be pardoned, anyway. In fact, King Agrippa said, “Doesn’t he know if he hadn’t appealed to Rome, he would have been set free? But he’s appealed to Rome; let’s send him on.”

Well, I believe the apostle Paul did not make those appeals legally simply for the purpose of his own personal well-being to fulfill his ministry as apostle — I think he did it for other Christians to carve out their freedoms that were already there and affirmed them that they were, in fact, free to practice their religion under the present guidelines in Rome.

Therefore, I believe it is appropriate for us to say, “There is a Constitution, there is a Bill of Rights and that Bill of Rights was actually put there because of the anticipation of a day in which either the state would create a state-church to impose upon everyone or the state would create laws to try to stop the church and the Christian from the free exercise of religion.

Remember, the First Amendment says they are not to make laws whereby any national church is imposed upon the nation and they are not to make any laws that prohibit the free exercise of religion.

And, by the way, may I commend not only the Becket Foundation for their work in this, but also the Alliance for Defending Freedom — both of those organizations are doing an excellent job arguing for Christians to be in the public square, in the public institutions for the free exercise of religion.

CHRISTIANS, IT IS YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT AND DUTY TO DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS

And I do not believe it is inappropriate and I do not believe it is a bad witness for Christians to go to the court in order to affirm what their founding fathers, influenced by Christians, secured in the Bill of Rights because they knew a day like this would come in which the state would either try to impose a church to control its people or the state would attempt to outlaw Christianity because Christianity would be an ideology and a way of life that would confront statism, which is the notion that the state is sovereign over everything in life instead of a state that is under God. Not a state that is becoming God, not a state that assumes its position of deity over its citizens, but a state that assumes its responsibility under God to protect the freedoms that God has given to His people.

There are four times in the Declaration of Independence that God is referenced as the author and giver of unalienable rights and our freedoms. You have to be sensibly blind not to see the impact from God’s law that penetrate and permeate the law of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And all you have to do is to go to the end of the Constitution and, at the signatures, it says, “In the year of our Lord” — that’s what they acknowledged, that this Constitution was under the sovereign God who rules and reigns in all days and all months and all years and in the year that the constitution was written and signed.

COMING UP TOMORROW: PLIGHT OF PORNOGRAPHY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to an interview that Evangelical Focus did with British psychologist and Christian author, Glen Harrison. It deals with sexuality and it deals with the plight of pornography.

DR. REEDER: How do we get free from it if we are captivated by it and what does it do? Well, it certainly isn’t victimless by any means whatsoever. We’ll try to use appropriate language for the sake of our listeners.

(Image: Pixabay)

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.