The Wire

  • Stray dog shot with arrow between its eyes in Walker County

    Excerpt from ABC 33/40:

    On Wednesday afternoon, the Walker County Humane Society rescued a stray dog who had been shot with an arrow between its eyes. The arrow has since been removed, and the dog is recovering at the humane society.

    Carbon Hill residents who noticed the injured dog alerted authorities after unsuccessful attempts at catching her last week. The humane society says the dog was so scared that rescue workers had to use sedative-laced cat food to catch her.

  • Trump explores tariffs on autos, auto parts

    Excerpt from AP:

    The Trump administration launched an investigation into whether tariffs are needed on the imports of automobiles into the United States, moving swiftly as talks over the North American Free Trade Agreement have stalled. President Donald Trump predicted earlier that U.S. automakers and auto workers would be “very happy” with the outcome of the NAFTA talks.

    The White House said in a statement Wednesday that the president had asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to consider whether the imports of automobiles, including trucks, and automotive parts threaten U.S. national security. The president said in the statement that “core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation.”

    The U.S. remains far apart on the talks over rewriting the trade pact with Canada and Mexico, with the discussions at an impasse over rules for car production. The initiation of the trade investigation could be seen as an attempt to gain leverage in the talks with the two U.S. neighbors. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that efforts to renegotiate the trade agreement could spill into next year.

  • Alice Martin stresses experience in campaign for attorney general

    Excerpt from Montgomery Advertiser:

    Before Alice Martin was an attorney, she was a nurse.

    “The nurses have the minute-by-minute contact with the patients, versus the doctors making rounds in the morning and afternoon,” Martin said in a recent interview. “It was so important to be the eyes for the physicians when they weren’t there, so you could tell them more than what you could chart.”

    While she ended up going into the law, Martin said her time as a psychiatric nurse proved valuable in a career where she’s worked as a private attorney, a prosecutor and a judge.

    “I used it in criminal cases when I was looking at autopsy reports, in forensic reports,” she said. “You can use it because it’s so much easier to communicate with doctors and nurses when you’re defending them in liability cases.”

    It goes with Martin’s chief argument in her campaign for attorney general: She has a resume no other candidate can match.

How to avoid going ‘wobbly’ on the truth

(Pixabay)

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REX TILLERSON ON HOW TO KEEP COUNTRY FROM GOING “WOBBLY”

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, there’s a little town in Virginia which you’ve visited many times, Lexington, Virginia, the home of Washington and Lee College but also the home of the Virginia Military Institute. It was at that place that former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was invited to come and give the commencement speech to the students.

He said, “If our leaders are to conceal the truth or we, as people, become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we, as America citizens, are on the pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”

He went on to say, “If we, as a people — a free people — go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem to be the most trivial of matters, we go wobbly on America.”

DR. REEDER: Well, yeah, wobbly until it all falls down. Now, I know everybody is reading this as a statement he is making concerning his previous boss, which is the president of the United States when he served as secretary of state, and I think that deserves analysis but that’s not where I want to go today.

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I think the removal of Secretary of State Tillerson, while he was on a mission by the president and his claim he did not know that was going to happen, that certainly is an interesting story of leadership, and this particular president’s style and Mr. Tillerson, who has come out of the corporate world in order to be the Secretary of State at the request of President Trump.

And I think that’s a story, but what I think he’s done is put his finger on something very, very truthful. It’s interesting that it should be done in that particular area because you’ve got Virginia Military Institute and you’ve got, next to it, Washington and Lee College, both of which have very stringent honor codes and, noteworthy, continue to this day, to some degree, both of those colleges.

OUR COUNTRY’S LEGACY IS OF UPRIGHT LEADERS 

One of the previous presidents, as many know, of Washington and Lee College was Robert E. Lee and, in his presidency, he was asked about the honor code. And he affirmed it, but then he said, “Really, you only need one and that is you ought to conduct yourself as a Christian gentleman.” And by the way, these are student-affirmed and student-enforced in both cases.

Here’s the way Jesus said it: Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Don’t be nuanced, trying to technically say the right thing but communicate the wrong thing or don’t say the right thing in the wrong way.

The way I try to say it is this: Say what you mean, mean what you say and never be mean when you say it. And that’s what I think Tillerson is saying, at least on the say what you mean and mean what you say.

LACK OF TRUST IN POLITICIANS IS THE NORM NOW

When a leader says something, it’s got to be trustworthy. It has become almost accepted fact the proverbial, “How do you know when a politician is lying? If he’s moving his mouth.” And, while that’s a joke, it is also a very sad joke.

It ought to be the exact opposite. Our first president, now, whether he actually cut down that cherry tree or not and then turned himself in… but the fact that things like that develop around a man tells you something about the man. And the story of Abraham Lincoln, who walked all those miles to return the coin because it wasn’t his — the stories abound of the truthfulness and trustworthiness.

You can’t be trustworthy if you can’t tell the truth and one of the things that is so important for a country such as this one that is based upon law is that, if you lose trust in those who lead you, then everything goes wobbly.

TRUST IN LEADERSHIP VS LEADERSHIP CRISIS

Well, how do you attempt to undo the wobbliness? Well, what happens in a country like ours is the same thing that happens in a family and the same thing that happens in a business and, by the way — since I’m a pastor — the same thing that happens in a church. If you lose trust in the soul and the gravitas and the truthfulness of your leaders and your leadership, once you lose that trust, the next step is to multiply legislation and regulations in order to attempt to maintain order.

And so, what do you see in our country now? You see reems and reems and reems of regulations, and legislations and lawsuits and that’s how the country now tries to maintain order. It used to be you didn’t need a 20-page contract — it was a handshake.

It used to be you could just write it out on a page and, “Is that what you said?” “Yeah, that’s what I said,” “Is that what you said?” “Yeah.” “Alright, let’s sign it.” You didn’t have to have 15 different statements for 13 different agencies to sign and seal and get a notary in order to cover any possible loopholes when the reality is, once you get into legislation and regulation to cover loopholes because people aren’t trustworthy, well, those same people just create more loopholes and now you’ve multiplied more legislation and regulation.

If a company, if a church, if a family has leaders that are trustworthy and that speak the truth, are reliable and you know that, what they’re saying, they actually say what they mean, mean what they say and would never be mean when they say it, then you don’t need all of those regulations and you don’t need all of that legislation and you certainly don’t need all of the lawsuits in order to try to restrain people.

Therefore, Mr. Tillerson’s statement is that a nation goes wobbly if its leaders do not speak the truth and speak the truth in terms of what actually is really happening — this is reality, we don’t have an alternate reality that we’re trying to create verbally. Here is what’s happening, here are the facts and then people are trustworthy to affirm them and to report them.

INTEGRITY-FILLED JOURNALISTS ARE CRITICAL, TOO

By the way, not only in the three branches of our government do we need that kind of leadership — in the judicial, in the legislative and in the executive branch on the local, state and national level — but, Tom, we need it in what many have called the fourth estate of our government and that is journalism.

To have journalists who do their work well and report facts factually, that is also a blessing. And our founding fathers knew that was important, which is why they created the freedom of the press to hold people accountable and the free practice of religion to mature and maintain our freedoms and call people to truthfulness and trustworthiness.

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.

 

Government branches must hold each other accountable, not circumvent each other

(USA.gov)

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FBI AND JUDICIAL SECRETS UNEARTHED – WHAT NOW?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, last week, a report was released by The New York Times which revealed that, under the FBI director James Comey’s leadership, they used a secret program that does not require the approval of a judge to gather phone records and other documents on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

The FBI ordered phone records and other documents using national security letters, a secret type of subpoena, officials said, and at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page — Carter Page — and Mr. Papadopoulos.

That has become a politically contentious point with Mr. Trump’s allies who are questioning whether the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign and trying to entrap campaign officials.

The national security letters are controversial, in part, because they carry the force of the law but are created entirely outside of the judicial system. To issue one, an FBI official needs to attest that the information sought is relevant to a national security investigation. The letters have also been criticized because they are shrouded in secrecy.

Harry, we have three distinct branches of government — judicial, congressional and executive. Is this a breaching of those three separate branches of government?

DR. REEDER: Not so much breach, I would say, as to circumvent. Tom, when I was in the ninth grade, I have to confess I was not all that interested as I should have been in my studies, but there was one little bright star in all of this and that was Robert Woodburn — I still remember him today — who was my Civics teacher in the ninth grade. I just got drawn into it.

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FOUNDING FATHERS’ “AMERICAN EXPERIMENT” 

I was amazed at our founding fathers who had just made it very clear that they were carrying out this American experiment by, first, we’re not going to have a monarchy where one man rules and, therefore, his tyranny in the accumulation of power, and we’re not going to have an oligarchy were the elite rule in their accumulation of power and money and wealth and we’re not going to have a democracy where a mob can rule. What we’re going to have is a republic where it is a people who are agreed that, in their local government, their state government and their federal government, we will be ruled by law and, therefore, it is the law that is king.

And then, to carry out that law or to make that law or to amend that law, there would be three branches of government. There would be the executive branch of government, which executes the law as it exists; there would be the judicial branches of government that would govern and would make rulings based upon the law and rulings concerning the lawfulness of any other proposed law in terms of the existing law; and then, finally, there would be the legislative which upholds the law, makes amendments to the law or bring forth any new law. And all of these would be accountable to their vows to the Constitution of the United States.

The executive branch of government would be elected, the legislative branch of government would be elected and then the executive and the legislative would bring forth the nominees for those who would be judges and, in some states, those judge positions where also elected — others, they would be appointed by those who had been elected in the executive and legislative branch.

Now, having put all that together in those brief moments, you have to realize that was to be implemented, to some degree, on all three levels: the local level where you would have mayors and you would have councils and you would have local judges; and then you would have it on a state level where you’d have a governor and state legislatures and state judges as well as state supreme courts; and then you would have it on the national level. Tom, part of the genius, also, was that these were not hierarchical but interdependent and accountable to each other.

Tom, there are two things that we see breached in this article that you’ve pointed out and first is how the executive branch, or runaway branches of the executive branch, attempt to circumvent the role of the judicial and then how the legislative abandons their responsibility to hold all of them accountable.

CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS ARE IMPORTANT, BUT ARE BEING ABUSED

Today, when we hear that the Congress is going to have a congressional hearing, what we basically think about is a sideshow in which various congressmen will use the opportunity to declare their talking points and lay out their next campaign and be able to make a name for themselves in what they question and how they question.

In reality, it was not there for a platform to promote our congressional members, but it was there for them to exercise oversight. They might have to have congressional hearings concerning the judicial branch or they might have to have congressional hearings concerning local and state governments on movements in the nation that need to be investigated in terms of any legislative impact. And there were congressional hearings for the executive branch, as well.

DO SPECIAL COUNSELS HELP OR HURT?

These are not moments for a showtime; these are moments to really hold people accountable: are you acting within your constitutional boundaries? I think you have said it before, most insightfully, these special prosecutors, I believe as you do, is not a good thing to do for various reasons.

Once you cut these special counsels loose and their investigative teams, with the powers of subpoena, the things that they have, they’re going to find something to validate what they’re doing and they can always argue, “I need to go down this trail because this may help me find what is happening over here that I was actually commissioned to do and investigate, but I need to investigate this because it may open up doors over here.”

Well, now they’re uncovering other things in the lives of people and in the past of people and they’re making it public and that becomes a political football to toss around. The special prosecutor is simply a statement of the cowardice or the ineptness of Congress to do their job in congressional hearings.

LET’S HOLD THESE EGREGIOUS BRANCH ACTIONS ACCOUNTABLE

Now, if there’s ever any place for clarity — moral clarity and legal clarity — it’s in the investigations that have and are and need to take place from Congress concerning how the FBI has been conducting itself and they also need to investigate how the IRS has been conducting itself.

Both have engaged in behavior that is punitive, oppressive and beyond the scope of their responsibilities but you need a Congress that will do its job, and then you need a judicial branch that will do its job and the executive branch needs to be accountable to the legislative body. And, once again, these congressional hearings have been the mechanism whereby that was supposed to be accomplished.

TOMORROW: REX TILLERSON GIVES WISE COMMENCEMENT ADVICE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a little town in Virginia — Lexington, Virginia — where a lot of American history has taken place. Former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was asked to talk to the graduates of VMI last week.

DR. REEDER: He made a comment that I think is extremely important to understand and, I believe, affirm what he said. Tom, can I also just finish up today’s program by mentioning this: the accountability that’s built into our government is an accountability we all need.

NOT JUST GOVERNMENT THAT NEEDS ACCOUNTABILITY 

There are three guys I’ve been with now for 34 years in an accountability relationship. I’ve got accountability to my wife, I’ve got accountability to my family, I’ve got accountability to those whom I work with and my elders and I believe this is very important, as you and I attempt to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

Accountability in life as well as accountability in government, that is a great principle but, most of all, I need to know that I am accountable to the Lord. My dear friends, I want you to know — and the other day they came out with a statement — that, once you put something in the digital world, it never goes away. You can find it and you can be held accountable.

Here’s what the Lord has said: “We give an account for every word and every action. How can I stand before a holy God Who will, by no means, leave the guilty unpunished and I’m accountable and will stand before Him because it is appointed unto men once to die and then the judgment?”

Well, let me tell you the way — the way is to come to Jesus Christ, Who will remove all of the guilt and shame by having taken our judgement for us at the cross and can set you on a new life where you come before the Lord, not as a criminal at the judgment seat, but as a son and a daughter able to affirm the stewardship of new life in Jesus Christ. Come to the One who sits at the judgment seat. He’s already come and He went to the cross for you.

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 Christians should visit holy lands

(Wikicommons)

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TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, we talked about the opening of the new embassy in Jerusalem by the United States. Guatemala, later in the week, also moved their embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

Harry, in the aftermath of what happened on that day, there were, as we talked about, a number of Palestinians that were trying to breech the security border fence in Israel and they were pushed back by Israeli soldiers. A number of Palestinians were killed.

Later last week, we found that, indeed, while there were a number of Palestinians protesting, they were infiltrated by a number of terrorists and, in fact, there’s video evidence that Hamas was paying children to be involved in that group and some of those children lost their lives.

WHY VISIT THE HOLY LAND?

DR. REEDER: Tom, I’m going to be over there while this program is airing. People ask me, “Why do you go there?” It’s a principle I’ve learned in my own life and I use it in teaching others: If you can get direct access to the environment to where things occur, you pull in all of your senses when it comes time to learn and that enhances your learning — you get insight while you’re on-site.

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As we are spending the time there, we’ll go to the various places. I have a wonderful guide that goes before us and checks all the logistics and then makes her statements about the area. She’s very knowledgeable and then she steps back. And then I start going into connecting the dots — Old Testament, New Testament, what happened here, why’d it happen here — and the providence of God.

SITES OF JESUS’ MINISTRY CAN BRING THE BIBLE TO LIFE

I take people to the city of Naan — that’s where Jesus raised the boy who was being carried out of the city. I actually have found the place where that occurred and, not long after that, interestingly, an archaeological team working from the United States working in Israel found that the gates of the city were actually right there. And the way I found it is I found the ruins of an old church that used to be there, knowing that, early on, they would build churches on sites where certain things had occurred. That’s how I found it and then archeology, there was a big article on this in Biblical Archeological Review, they begin to dig and, sure enough, they found out that here’s where the gates of Naan were.

Now, there’s a lot of reasons to weep when your only son died if you’re a widow. In the surrounding societies, widows lost their legitimacy of existence when their husband died. What could preserve them is their children, in general, but the firstborn male, in particular.

Therefore, with her husband gone and her child gone, if she actually had been in another country, many of them, they just put them out and let them die or even, in some cases, put them to death because such women were considered as a burden upon society and no longer a productive member of society.

In Israel, that was not the case because the Lord had embedded the dignity of women into the ceremonial laws, in general, and the Law of God, in particular: “Honor your father and your mother.” “Do not commit adultery” — the sanctity of marriage and, therefore, the wife’s position in a marriage, that a wife was not just property.

He raises the boy and she’s got a lot of reason for joy and the people are amazed and they say, “He’s a prophet.” What a lot of people don’t realize is that there was a great prophet by the name of Elisha and that is the very area where he ministered. He, of course, raised a widow’s son as an affirmation that he had followed Elijah, who raises a widow’s son.

And, right there in that very area, they would be fully aware of that, very sensitive to that story and, when Jesus comes in and raises up the widow’s son in that same area, no wonder they cry out, “This is the prophet of whom we have waited.” What you can see is the amazing connecting of dots of all that takes place in this rather small country, about the size of New Jersey.

WHY IS ISRAEL SO CONTROVERSIAL?

TOM LAMPRECHT: And, Harry, as we look at Israel and the miracles that took place — some of the stories that you just shared with us just now, yet today it seems to be somewhat of a powder keg ready to go off at any moment. Harry, is that coincidental or is there a spiritual implication there?

DR. REEDER: We’re constantly amazed at how accurate the Bible is, both what it has recorded as history and then what it prophesies as history. Prophecy in the Bible is pre-written history and God has already told us of these conflicts that are going to be there, the conflicts that are going to exist throughout the world, and the particular conflicts that are going to be there in terms of the enmity of the nations.

Now we should, as believers, always pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we should always promote peace in the area and we need to deal justly with all sides in the conflict that is there. And you need to remember that you have brothers and sisters who are Jewish, who are in Christ and know the Lord, and you have brothers and sisters who are Palestinian who are in Christ and know the Lord. Therefore, we’re always laboring for that peace in the area.

However, Tom, while I’m there, I hope to let people see their Bible come alive and then, when we get back, I get people writing me all the time, “Can I tell you what that means? My Bible now is so alive when I read it because I was right there,” –getting insight while you’re on-site.

One of the places that the people will go is the Golan Heights and, when we go there, we’ll be looking over into Syria. Not only is there tension on the southern border of Hamas and Egypt and the Gaza, but there’s also, as you know, quite a bit of tension with Syria because Syria has become a proxy for Iran and Iran has already attempted some incursions. We’ll be taking a look from the observation post that they allow you to look from.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO SHARE THE GOSPEL

While we’re there, we’re going to share Christ with people and we’re going to pray for Israel. Let me just also say, Tom, that 30 years ago, it was less than 1 percent of Jewish people confessed Christ as Lord and Savior. It is now believed that they’re rising up to 5 percent. Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but that is an extensive multiplication.

There’s also some evidence within the military of an underground movement of the Gospel taking place in the Israeli country and there have been a number of churches that have been able to secure some freedoms that Christian churches have not enjoyed in the past but now do enjoy, which then has opened up other doors in ministry as well.

When I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I not only pray, certainly, for the peace among the nations and the ethnicities, but I also want to pray very specifically for the Gospel of Peace so that men and women can be right with God through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, filled with the Spirit of God.

When you’re filled with the Spirit of God, then you have the fruit of the Spirit — love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness, and goodness and faithfulness, and gentleness and self-control — and then pray that the Gospel of saving grace in Christ that brings men and women at peace with God would promote their peace with one another and then, in fact, reach out in peace, certainly not to the detriment of the security of the nation, but in order to promote the security of the nation.

And I do pray that, somehow in some way, God uses our country here, America, as a part of both of those desires that I pray for. One part is that America will have believers who are praying for and sending those who can share the Gospel throughout the land of Israel. And, secondly, that the leadership of our nation might be able to assist in some way to bring a political, and national and ethnic peace among the peoples that are there but, all the while, seeing that movement of the Gospel of peace of Jesus Christ and the redemptive work of Christ bringing the true shalom — shalom, that wonderful word of peace.

COMING UP TOMORROW: OUR GOVERNMENT BRANCHES IN JEOPARDY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a report that was released by the New York Times last week which ought to be somewhat concerning for all of us. It really describes how the separation of the three branches of our government are starting to erode.

DR. REEDER: Not only is it the law that is king in America — not any individual or any one branch of government — but how that wisdom needs to be embraced once again.

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.

Making sense of Trump’s negotiations

(White House/Flickr)

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NORTH KOREAN CAPTIVES SET FREE GIVE PSALM TO MIKE PENCE

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, a week ago, it was a special day for the United States and a special day for three men who were being held hostage by the North Koreans. When they got off the plane, one of the three handed Vice President Mike Pence a note.

Mike Pence tweeted, “It was an amazing moment I’ll never forget when three Americans stepped onto the tarmac and gave me a signed personal note with Psalm 126 on the back. To these men of faith and courage, God Bless You and welcome home.”

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Psalm 126:1-3 reads:

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of the captives of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Then our mouth was filled with laughter,

our tongue with songs of joy.

Then they said among the nations,

‘The Lord has done great things for them.’

The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.”

DR. REEDER: As we try to look at issues around the world from a Christian World and life view, we try to do this in a commentary fashion and not in a sermonic fashion, but when I hear something like this, I am immediately wanting to go to Psalm 126 and let’s preach the Gospel from the Psalms.

The Bible records that wonderful moment when Jesus is on the road to Emmaus with his disciples and He says to them whose hearts were downcast, “Do you not know that the Scriptures had to be fulfilled?” And, beginning with Moses, with all the prophets in the psalms, He explained Himself in all the Scriptures.

OUR FAITH IS ONE OF FREEING CAPTIVES

And, of course, when you study the psalms, what you’re ultimately seeing is not only the immediate context and fulfillment of these psalms and their historic position, but you’re also seeing them point to Christ. In other words, Christ is the ultimate singer of the psalms — not David, but the great Son of David who is greater than David — and that is Christ, the King of Glory and the Savior of sinners.

When this wonderful psalm that praises God for His delivery of His covenant people and they were restored to the blessings of Zion and, as they are redeemed and delivered from their captivity, while of course that would have great promises as you look at the issue of the restoration of Israel from the Babylonian captivity, but it has even greater fulfillment when you look ultimately not to the people of God being restored after being under the disciplining hand of God from various captivities — what you ultimately have is the glorious blessing of the redeeming work of Christ who sets free His people from the captivity of our sin.

Therefore, when Israel is taken out of the bondage of Egypt and then brought to the promised land, in later years, when Israel is restored from a Babylonian captivity, this psalm takes on particular meaning for God’s covenant people who are numbered within the nation of Israel.

CHRIST BROUGHT THAT FREEDOM TO ALL NATIONS

But now God’s covenant people are brought from all the nations and what you’re looking to is not the Lord’s use of fallible instruments by His grace such as Moses, and David, and Daniel, and Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus and all of these who are in positions of leadership that God uses because the Lord can turn the hearts of the king wheresoever He wishes even as turns the rivers to the sea.

You not only see that but what you see is the intentional work of the God of glory in sending His Son, the Redeemer of His people, the Prophet, Priest and King Who is the fulfillment of all the Scriptures and, in Him, we are delivered and brought into the ultimate Zion and we’ll be delivered finally into a new heavens and a new earth for the covenant people of God who are now being brought from all nations into the kingdom of God.

But, having looked at that glorious truth, now you back up to the initiative that is taking place out of this administration out of the basis of God’s common grace and you see a people who take a text of Scripture that refers to the blessings of God’s covenant people when they are delivered, not only historically, but also spiritually God’s people delivered into the people of God, looking at that glorious psalm that is fulfilled in Christ in the kingdom of God.

And they make an application, not an interpretation, that they feel the same way as they were in the desolation, all of the deprivations taking place — being wrongfully imprisoned in Korea — but now, as a “statement of good will” they are freed through the negotiations that have been taking place by this administration. Of course, it’s come out now that there have been some backdoor negotiations.

DO THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?

Now, Tom, all of this begs for you and me to make some kind of comment. This, at best, in terms of accepted statecraft, is very unusual. You have a president who is tweeting out things that are, to say the least, offensive to this leader in Korea and here is Korea, who is in Asia, and this is an honor/shame culture — you just don’t abide by any acts of shame — and so everyone anticipates, when he puts out “rocket man” and all of this, that this is going to send relationships spiraling out of control and yet backdoor meetings taking place.

And then we see this monumental moment of North Korean dictator and the South Korean leadership right at the demilitarized zone, shaking hands, and these declarations, and now these peace accords that are moving forward and now promises of denuclearization taking place. He’s wily as a fox, this president is, because he’s doing these things publicly and these other things are taking place privately. Much of what we think is accepted statecraft actually, in negotiations around issues, ought to be reexamined.

IS AMERICA FIRST A CHRISTIAN MANTRA?

Now, what I don’t think should be reexamined is the call for decorum in relationships. I do not believe that you violate the dignity of human beings in order to maneuver them to a negotiating table to get the best deal that you can. And I do not believe that a commitment “to put America first” which, in its best light is, I’m going to look out for the interest of my nation first and, by the way, I expect you to look out for the interest of your nation first. I believe the best interpretation of that is you are elected to take care of your people so that should guide your negotiations.

Tom, let me share a story: My father was involved in baseball and he was on the periphery of a trade that took place between some major league baseball teams. Dad’s team got clearly the best of the trade — it was a six-player swap and the three players they got went on to have unbelievably productive seasons and the three players they gave up had unproductive seasons.

And I looked at Dad and I said to Dad, “That was a great trade.” He said, “No, son, that was a bad trade. Whenever you make a trade and whenever you do a negotiation, you want to make sure that the person you’re negotiating with gets a win. You need to get the win you need to get, but they need to get a win, too, for two reasons. First, you want to honor the dignity of the person that you’re negotiating with and secondly, if you’re not negotiating in good faith so that they come out with a positive, then they’ll never be back at another negotiating table with you. And, son, very seldom in the affairs of life do you ever settle anything that needs to be settled at one sit-down and at one negotiation.”

WE NEGOTIATE TO WIN OTHERS TO CHRIST

While I will acknowledge that that unorthodoxy is maybe a good thing from time to time, I do want to say and affirm, from a Christian world and life view, people are made in the image of God and nations are made up of people and, therefore, when we deal with people, we need to deal with them with dignity and respect. We always are looking as Christians, wanting to influence our own nation to conduct itself in such a way that, by God’s grace, it might be a bridge-building moment that we can actually create opportunities for us to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations.

And we will see not only the blessing of people who are unjustly imprisoned for political reasons delivered and see their joy expressed in that handwritten note with that Psalm 126 that was given to our vice-president, but we can see even more that people give praise to the God of glory because they are delivered from their sins and the negotiations among nations have actually opened the doors for the ambassadors of Christ to bring the Good News.

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 Trump was right to move embassy to Jerusalem

(I. Trump/Instagram)

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TRUMP FOLLOWS THROUGH ON EMBASSY PROMISE

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, this past Monday was a significant day in the nation of Israel as President Donald Trump of the United States made a bold decision that was actually passed by Congress 20 years ago to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

DR. REEDER: This is something that has been the stated objective of almost every president and every Congress. And, in fact, it was almost an embarrassment to all of the allies who had knowingly turned their eyes and ears from the reality of the Holocaust being inflicted upon the Jewish people by the Nazi regime and then, of course, the uncovering of this site. So, the Holocaust, it was just a matter of a couple of years before the United Nations would pass the declaration for the restoration of Israel back to its homeland. Of course, all of this dates back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

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Now comes this post-World War II movement. Every president, also, of course, wants to bring peace to the Middle East as well. Our last presidents have made initiatives and efforts but it’s been to no avail. Now, interestingly, what President Trump has done, which is placing our embassy in the capital of Jerusalem, let’s make a couple of facts abundantly clear. First of all, Jerusalem is, by the nation of Israel, declared to be her “eternal city,” the eternal capital of Israel.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT ?

Nations always place their embassies in the capital cities of the nation with which they have the relationships and our Congress has authorized that our embassy should be in the capital city of Jerusalem and has so directed it to be, but no president has placed our embassy in the capital city of Israel, which is Jerusalem.

Well, Tom, the question automatically says well, why haven’t presidents done what Congress has authorized? They put the embassy in Tel-Aviv, which has been the functional economic center of Israel. Even though all of their governmental buildings and organizations are located in Jerusalem, we’ve always put our embassy in Tel-Aviv.

WHY DID U.S. WAIT SO LONG TO PUT EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM?

Why? It’s been a bargaining chip out of deference to the Palestinians so that, in negotiations, that has positioned America as a broker of peace and it has been acknowledged that America would be the best broker of a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israeli nation.

Well, now, as Donald Trump has said, every president has promised to put the embassy there, Congress has authorized the embassy to be there, I’m going to put it there. He put it and an unmistakable message was given because it was on the day that commemorates the establishment of Israel in 1947. Therefore, the president does it and that, of course, has caused significant unrest in Israel.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE STILL FACE UNREST

TOM LAMPRECHT: In fact, there were dozens of Palestinians that were killed as the Israeli defense forces acted forcefully when a number of terrorists tried to breach a security fence.

DR. REEDER: There were efforts to disrupt the process, efforts to go through the security fences so there were Israeli defense forces. And the Israelis now are under a number of assaults in that there is the Iranian-backed assaults coming out of Syria, which Israel has responded to very forcefully externally and then the internal issues of the Palestinian unrest and their response and the Palestinians have declared that they no longer will look to America or follow America’s peace initiatives.

Now, a lot of people are sitting here looking at this, having seen something we’re going to comment on tomorrow, the Korean initiatives that have been somewhat successful, and what has been the role of this presidential administration. And some are looking at this and saying, well, this may be another example of business as usual by presidents, which is, “I’m not going to put the embassy there so I’ve got a bargaining chip.”

The fact is the bargaining chip hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked now for four presidents. This president decides: I’m not going to use it as a bargaining chip. I’m going to go ahead and do it and let’s see if that moves the process forward, because there is no other ally that we have that we will not put an embassy in their capital and, if Israel is a strong ally for us, then we need to go ahead and do what we would do with every other nation. And then, from that position, let’s be a player in the matters of negotiating a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

PEACE IS A TOP GOAL

It is my opinion that this actually may position the president’s negotiating teams in a more purposeful position. Instead of making Jerusalem a bargaining chip, you’ve made it a reality that has to be dealt with and now move ahead to deal with the reality of how we get a peace agreement there in Israel.

Of course, there’s some evangelicals that their position is this is futile to try to make a peace agreement because the Bible declares that there will be enmity between the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Isaac. However, I would suggest that, while in God’s purposes, what He does with the conflicts of nations is yet to be seen in His providence.

I believe the directive of God’s Word is very clear:

— We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

— We should seek the peace of Jerusalem.

— We should be peacemakers wherever we go.

Well, Harry, what about wars? War is always the failure of human beings to deal with the issues of sin and unrighteousness and evil and, ultimately, wars may settle the immediacy of an issue, but they don’t position you for the long-term effects of what needs to be done for felicity — the fact that we need to promote peace. Whereby, with principles of what is right and what is wrong, you sit down at the table in order to do that which is just for both nations.

PAST APPROACHES WERE DECEPTIVE AND INEFFECTIVE 

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, Abigail Shrier, who writes for The National Review and The Federalist, said the embassy move could be Trump’s most enduring presidential achievement.

DR. REEDER: I have that hope, Tom. I have that very, very hope. I just know that the past approach of withholding the embassy by presidential directive in order to use that to create the opportunity to be the broker of peace between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people hasn’t worked and there is no sense that it will work. I think go ahead and deal with Israel as you would with any other ally, place the embassy there, go ahead and establish that and let Israel deal with the reality of that.

And then, from that position, call the factions within Israel to a table and then I actually think you can speak with more pointedness to Israel, having affirmed her position as an ally rather than, “Israel, we are authorized to put an embassy in Jerusalem but we’re not going to do it unless you make concessions to the Palestinians. And, Palestinians, see, we haven’t put an embassy there so that shows that we’re really not an ally with Israel and you can trust us.”

I don’t think that kind of deception really works. Go ahead and put the embassy there and sit down and say, “Now let’s get on the table what are the issues and how can we create a solution that takes care of the Palestinian people within the confines of the borders of Israel and how can an appropriate nation be established for the Palestinian people?”

I will again remind our listeners that I believe that this was a failure prior to World War II when the Balfour Declaration was not properly fulfilled underneath English oversight and what today is Jordan actually was the very place whereby those who are in Israel were supposed to be given land and a nation and it was to be established. And the creation of Jordan was, actually, I believe, a political figment for other purposes that was put into place, but now Jordan is there — it’s going to be there — now you’ve got to deal with the necessity of, I believe, carving out a Palestinian nation and that’s going to require some appropriate negotiations by Israel with the Palestinian people.

DON’T FORGET THE REAL KINGDOM OF GOD

I would also remind all of our listeners, Tom, that our kingdom we have our allegiance to as believers is, of course, the Kingdom of God that is to be spread with the Gospel to all the nations. And I would remind you that you have, in the Kingdom of God, brothers and sisters who are citizens of the Kingdom of God through a personal relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior who reside in both places. God’s covenant people come from all the nations and, therefore, we are to bring the Gospel of peace to all the nations.

COMING UP FRIDAY:

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, as you’ve already alluded to, we’re going to revisit the North Korean situation. Specifically, I want to take a look at those three detainees that came back to the United States last week and a special note they handed Mike Pence.

DR. REEDER: I would encourage our listeners, why don’t you read Psalm 126 before 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.

Stay married through ‘hurricane’ years, struggles — it’s worth it

(Pixabay)

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NEW STUDY SAYS LONG-TERM MARRIAGES YIELD HAPPINESS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, World Magazine has reported on a new study: Couples that stay married for the long run end up happier, according to a new study by a Pennsylvania State University sociologist.

Paul Amato and co-author Spencer James of Brigham Young University used 20 years of data from the longest-running detailed study of marriage and looked at reported rates of happiness, shared activities and discord among 1,600 spouses, including more than 200 who have been married for 40 years or more. Contrary to previous studies, that found marital quality deteriorates over time, this new study found marital quality actually improves over the years for couples who stay together.

“Positive outcomes for couples in long-term marriages are the norm,” Amato said in an interview with the Institute for Family Studies. “Contrary to what many people think, marital quality does not inevitably decline; it tends to remain high or even improve over the decades.”

DR. REEDER: When you add the dynamic of a lifestyle engaged in a local church with regularity embedded in the life of the church, it goes out the roof in terms of longevity, perseverance, happiness and affirmation of the relationships and the increasing depth of intimacy between the husband and wife.

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ALL MARRIAGES HAVE STAGES — KNOWLEDGE OF THEM IS KEY

Even as the physical and sexual dynamics begin to dissipate because of biological reasons, the emotional intimacy actually skyrockets in those days because of all that they have built upon throughout life and shared in life. And then, if they are surrounded, as I would apply, with the means of grace, preaching, and worship and fellowship then that even skyrockets it. By the way, the dip in this — I like the way the reporter said it — “the hurricane of children,” particularly in their adolescent and teenage years.

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Indeed, the report says, after a slight dip in happiness and shared activities in early marriage, the hurricane of young children and careers, for that matter, happiness and shared activities improve over the years and discord declines.

DR. REEDER: Many times, your children arrive at those challenging ages — I think it starts around 11, maybe 12, what we call “being thrown into the barrel” with your kids at that age — and that usually coincides about the same time where some career decisions happen. You’ve been in your career, you’re moving along and now, “Am I going to stay in this career, move to another one or I got to take a step forward? What am I going to do?” The challenge of time devoted to career, time devoted to children, so it’s no doubt that, during those years, that’s where the “slight dip” occurs.

HARD STAGES BECOME FRUITFUL BY BIBLICAL FOUNDATION

Actually, I would like to say when you work through those years, that’s what makes the following years so expansively and explosively enjoyable with each other. What you learn together as you went through it, what you’ve accomplished together, particularly, when you apply the Biblical principles of a man giving spiritual leadership in the home and of a woman bringing that completion of emotional health and insight into the home and that she brings order into a home.

I always share with people that I know, when a home is orderly, there is an extraordinary woman in that home. And I’m not just talking about things are neat; I’m talking about the relationships are orderly. The woman sets that pattern of orderliness and, when there is a depth of concern, then I know a man is doing his job because leadership, according to the Bible, is a servant’s heart that wants to care for people and, if there’s a man who is caring for his wife and his children, that compassionate environment begins to be seen in the home.

Now, certainly, women have that great nurturing dynamic and men have that leadership, “Here’s where we’re heading,” and all of that, but I will just say I have always noted a Christian home where the husband and wife are fulfilling their overlapping but yet unique roles, men will bring that depth of intimacy that flows from their concern for their wife and women bring that depth of order that flows from their trust in the Lord working through their husband and working through them together into the lives of their children. Those things are fleshed out in those “dip/hurricane years” where it doesn’t seem so satisfying and joyous but, yet, on the other side, there’s some things that really develop out of that.

FOCUS ON WHAT DREW YOU TO EACH OTHER AND DEVELOP IT

May I just say, anecdotally, I cannot envision my life apart from my wife, just what she means to me and, hopefully, what I can mean to her. As you know because we’ve been friends for a long time, I always tell people “long courtship, short engagements,” and, in my case, it was “short courtship, short engagement.” It was a three-month courtship and a three-month engagement and that was it.

Some have said, “Do you regret that? Would you have liked to have taken longer courtship?” Are you kidding me? If I could go back and redo it, I would just reduce it down another two or three months if I could. It has been such a great blessing for me to have enjoyed my wife. I am not only attracted to her beauty, but I am astounded by her depth — the very thing that drew me into her life — but what I’m more astounded by is what we’ve been able to develop throughout the years. Tom, when we get in the car now and go on a trip, a lot of our talk is what we’ve enjoyed together throughout the years and our anticipation of what’s in the future.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, why is it in our society today that people give up so quickly on marriage?

DR. REEDER: Because they give up on everything. We live in a society today that says, “You’re entitled to happiness, not your call to holiness.” That means instant happiness — not only is everything there for you, but it’s supposed to be there immediately for you and you don’t have to work at it. “It’s mine, now, fast,” and that’s why we destroy our partners in marriage because they exist for us instead of we exist for the Lord and now we want to be used of the Lord in their life.

MENTORS FOR YOUNG COUPLES ARE VITAL

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Perhaps it might sound simplistic, but advising a young couple who are going through the hurricane challenging years of life, is it wrong just to say, “Hang in there”?

DR. REEDER: Not only, “Hang in there,” but, “Get some mentors.” That’s why I brought out at the beginning to get embedded in a good local church. And I would say to my brothers and sisters in those churches and my pastor friends, “We need to make sure we’ve got good premarital counseling in place and we need to make sure that we’ve got a way for people to develop relationships.”

One of the things we love to do at Briarwood is our Sunday Schools are called “congregational communities” and they all have older couples in them. Our young couples’ classes all have two, three or four older couples they can develop relationships with and learn from. Everybody needs fathers and grandfathers; everybody needs mothers and grandmothers in their lives. They need that all the time and so we want to give that to them.

And then you need to have a solid worship dynamic in a church that’s God-centered. The family that learns to worship God together will be able to stay together for the Lord. Worship sets the thermostat in your Christian life and that includes your marriage.

TIME TO COMMIT TO HARD WORK AGAIN — IN MARRIAGE, TOO

And then the other thing is this: it’s just like pastors give up too quickly in their churches, people give up too quickly at their job, people give up too quickly at a challenge — it’s we want it now and, if it requires effort, then I need to move onto something else.

Your marriage is going to require work — marriage is hard work — but God can enable you and God can strengthen you. He wouldn’t call you to stay together for life if He wasn’t able to keep you together for life. And, of course, it is the power of the Gospel that is life-changing and that allows our lives to change for the Lord and in relationship to each other.

LIFETIME COMMITMENT LEADS TO A LIFE OF CONTENTMENT

I told Cindy the other day, “You know, you had no business marrying me. That was about the dumbest decision you ever made of which I am eternally grateful.”

Marriage for me was like the big date — I didn’t have to take her home; now I got her. Of course, I found out pretty quickly that the big date is not a way of life. And I would wake up — literally wake up — in my first year of marriage and look and there’s Cindy and I would say, “Oh my goodness, this is the rest of my life. I’ve made a commitment. This is the rest of my life.”

That’s the way I was raised — I’d made a lifetime commitment and I’d say, “This is the rest of my life. This isn’t: take a shot and, if it doesn’t work, go try another one.” My dating life, I usually dated and I had someone different every week. So now I said, “This is my life.”

Well, I still wake up — matter of fact, I wake up more at night now than I used to — and I still look at her when I wake up and I no longer think, “This is the rest of my life.” I now think, “I’ve got so little of my life left to live with her and I’m so grateful for her.”

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.

Insanity: NYC mayor wants to enable drug use

(NYC, Pixabay)

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DEBLASIO WANTS TO SET UP DRUG ADMINISTRATION CENTERS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to a story out of The Daily Wire. New York City mayor, Bill De Blasio, recently announced plans to open four supervised injection sites where illegal drug users can get their fix with no fear of arrest while medical professionals stand by to prevent fatal overdoses.

The proposed “Overdose Prevention Centers” would be safe consumption spaces where addicts can self-administer pre-obtained narcotics such as heroin, oxycontin and other opioids.

HARRY REEDER: One elected official says, “Here is another example of liberal insanity,” but I’d like to take it a step back further than that. Whenever we engage in sinful behavior, we engage in that which is destructive and it’s interesting how we will rationalize that which is destructive.

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And I try to tell people constantly in counseling situations that sin never makes sense. Sin is insanity — and insane act is what sin is — but we find a way to rationalize it and to make it thinkable because, if you can make it thinkable, you can make it acceptable and, if you make it thinkable and acceptable, you can make it doable.

THIS IS HOW SIN CREEPS INTO SOCIETY

Here, we have an illegal act — that means it’s a sin. Here, we have a destructive act of the body which God has given us to serve Him — the Bible says, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice,” that we are to buffet our bodies and make them our servants; instead of destroying our bodies, we are to actually build them up — “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature.” Therefore, we try to understand how to be good stewards of our body.

And here are the narcotics that actually destroy and the government has every interest in the general welfare to set an environment whereby people cannot destroy a society by destroying themselves and their marriages. That’s what’s in place. Now the view is, “Well, look, people are doing these drugs, anyway, so let’s make it safe.

IS THE “SAFE SEX” CROWD NOW PROMOTING “SAFE DRUGS”?

Let me give you a comparison. I sat in a school educational committee and I was arguing for a sex education curriculum that focused upon abstinence. I was mocked and ridiculed: “Don’t you understand that our children are going to have sex? We’re not going to teach your sacred sex concept that sex is to be sacred and for procreation within marriage. What we’re going to do is understand that our kids are going to have sex so we want to make it safe for them.”

And I said, “Well, let me ask you something else. Are your kids going to lie?” “Well, yeah, they’re going to lie.” “Well, are we going to have a curriculum on safe lying? Are your kids going to cheat? Are we going to have a curriculum on safe cheating?” Do you think that there are some kids that might steal? Are we going to have a curriculum on safe stealing?”

“Well, no, that would be ridiculous.” I said, “Well, hold it. There’s ‘Do not lie, do not cheat, do not steal,’ and those are commandments of God that were preceded by ‘Do not commit adultery.’ Why is it that you will take those commandments that we know our kids are going to transgress and not teach safe stealing, cheating and lying, but you’re willing to teach safe adultery and safe promiscuity when, in reality, it’s not safe? And I can give you all the statistics of what happens physically and emotionally to people who have sex outside of marriage and that’s the sexually transmitted diseases and the epidemic that cannot be stopped.”

DRUGS ARE NOT SAFE 

People are going to do drugs, so let’s make it safe for them to kill themselves with drugs. How are you going to make it safe to kill yourself with drugs? You’re going to kill yourself with drugs — okay, you stop them from using a dirty needle but the drugs are still killing them.

We’ve got a law that says you can’t buy these drugs, but if they buy the drugs and they can bring their own — remember the old, when you went to the restaurant, bring your own bottle, BYOB, well, here is bring your own drugs — and, if you bring your own drugs, we’re going to give you needles, we’re going to administer it and, if something happens, we’re going to medicate you, etc., etc.

Listen, we already have places to medicate people if they have overdoses and people understand what an overdose is, but now what we’re going to do is help you kill yourself with drugs and, somehow, we’re going to call that compassion and that we are a compassionate society.

MERCY OR MADNESS?

And that’s where the Mayor De Blasio of New York now says to his people, people are doing drugs. We don’t want them to kill themselves with the drugs so we’re going to give them safe drug-taking by giving them four injection sites, provide the injection devices and provide the injection personnel. If they already have illegally obtained the drugs, they can bring them there in order to have them administered.

Now, what are you going to do with them afterward? I don’t know what’s going to take place — I don’t understand any of that — but now you’ve got this insanity of providing a safe environment for somebody to kill themselves with the administration of drugs. While we’re sitting here struggling with this opioid epidemic and everybody knows that it is killing people, what we’re going to do is we’re going to help you administer the thing that’s going to kill you.

NOW THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IS IN THE WRONG?

Now, by the way, we’re going to help you so you kill yourself safely is what we’re doing. That’s the insanity of our sin. And now you’ve got a national government that’s put in a predicament just the same way it is in a sanctuary city because we’ve got a law that’s being violated in that city.

Do we step in on top of the city, which is now promoting the administration of illegal drugs? Is that what we’re going to do — are we going to step in on top of that? What are we going to do with that city? It’s the same issue that they have with cities that say, “We’re not going to administer the immigration policy of the nation.”

And now you’ve got the Drug Enforcement Agency that’s got to step in on top of a city that is actually a drug administration center where people have purchased illegal drugs to have them administered there within the city. That’s where we are in that context.

Now, listen, when we see the insanity of sin, from a Christian world and life view, that should never amaze me. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to step in and speak to public policy that has sanity in order to love my neighbor, but it does mean this: I realize again, and again, and again that the only answer to such situations is the glorious truth of the Gospel.

And so, as one of my friends, who is a federal judge, said, “Harry, the church has to learn to be indignant and outraged over sin and compassionate and caring for the sinner.” And that’s what we have to do.

And what marries the outrage of sin and the love of the sinner is the Gospel message that Jesus Christ, the Judge of all sin, came to bear your judgement for your sin at the cross and has come to give you life so that you can be set free from your sin and that you can actually find a Savior in which you do not need to escape into the death throes of drug addiction.

Therefore, to Mayor De Blasio, what I would encourage you to do, my friend, is I would encourage you to go to those evangelical churches — I can name some of them — who have wonderful ministry efforts to those who are engaged in drug abuse and drug addiction. And the answer is not to enable their drug addiction; the answer is to reach them with the glorious truth of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ so that life can be lived abundantly in Christ, Who gives life everlastingly.

COMING UP WEDNESDAY: MARRIAGE IS GOOD FOR YOU?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Wednesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a story which is rather encouraging. Couples who stay married for the long run end up happier, according to a new study by a Pennsylvania State University sociologist.

HARRY REEDER: Oh, my goodness, you mean the covenant of marriage — a conjugal, heterosexual, lifelong relationship — is actually good for people? Wow. A survey that affirms that? Wow. What would that mean for public policy? What would that mean for our nation? And, by the way, what does that mean for the church in light of where we are as a nation in terms of marriage? Let’s talk about 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.

Why it’s crucial that parents examine college faculties

(Pixabay)

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SHOCKING IMBALANCE ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to a new study out of the National Association of Scholars. This study found that 39 percent of top-tier liberal arts colleges in the United States don’t have any Republicans on their faculties. This study also found that the Democrat to Republican ratio was 10.4:1 among 8,688 Ph.D.-holding professors. The ratio is 12.7:1 when you take away the two military colleges, West Point and Annapolis. The report states that the 51 institutions they accounted for in the study are among the top 66 ranked colleges in the U.S. News and World Report.

DR. REEDER: Let me go ahead and tell everyone: This is not a partisan program whereby we are arguing for more Republicans to be elected and selected for the faculties of top-tier colleges — that’s not what this is. We’re trying to look at this from a world and life view.

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LOOK TO THE RESURGENCE OF INTEREST IN COMMUNISM

And can I just ask everyone to navigate back to the previous program at the end of last week, an analysis as to why the Communist Manifesto, as modified and implemented by Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, etc., has proven to be destitute, has proven to actually produce gulags, prisons, famines, etc.

However, now, it’s cool again. The reason it’s cool again with the students is because of the teachers of our students in the colleges. Who are the teachers? Well, in the days of the ‘60s, that eventually promoted the step-child of the Communist Manifesto, socialism, and made cool all the communist dictators such as Castro and Chez Guevara and others.

They were declared to be cool and that was the way to go because of the abolition of private property, get rid of capitalism, etc. All of that proved to be destructive, as you saw what happened in East Germany, and the Soviet Union, what we see happening in places like Venezuela, Cuba, etc.

Therefore, Marx and those statues were torn down but all of those promoters of the Communist Manifesto went into what, today, is the cultural elite that are shaping the minds of young people. They’re in the media, they’re in the entertainment world and they are in the academy. They teach in the universities, which is where the students are getting this view of Marx and Marxism and the Communist Manifesto and it’s all being taught without the historical realities of what it actually has produced wherever it has gone.

WHO IS TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN?

Please, folks, listen to what I’m about to say. We do this program in order to communicate a Gospel-based Christian world and life view. Why do we do that? Because the way that you view life will determine the way you live life and the way you view life is directly related to your teachers.

Here’s what Jesus said: When all is said and done, the pupil will be like the teacher. Here’s what David said in Psalm 1: “Do not walk in the counsel, the teaching, of the ungodly. Do not stand in the path of sinners and do not sit in the seat of the scorner.”

You need to understand who you choose to teach, what you listen to and how you listen to it is of direct importance and, parents, who you choose to teach your child. When you decide to send your child to a university, do you ever take a look at who makes up the faculty of that university? Do you know who’s going to be teaching your child? All of those teachers have a world and life view.

WHY DO WE NEED TO BE WARY OF AN IMBALANCE?

Now, this analysis that was just done that you referred to, Tom, points out that, in the top-tier — now, we’re not talking about offshoot, private, elite colleges, we’re talking about top-tier universities where most of our cultural shapers are being shaped — you are almost 11 times more likely to have a registered Democrat. Why are they registered Democrats?

I was just listening to an interview of Hillary Clinton. It has recently been counted by one social scientist that she has given 42 reasons why she lost the election. One of them was this. Here was the question that was asked of her: “Did you lose because you are too much of a capitalist?” In other words, “Would you have been elected if you had been more of a socialist than you actually were?”

Her answer was basically yes. She said, even in a place like an Iowa primary, if you don’t distance yourself from capitalism, you can’t be elected. The primary is what? That is a party election.

EVEN CLINTON ADMITS THE DEMOCRATS HAVE SKEWED TO REJECT CAPITALISM

What she is saying is, within the Democratic party, we have arrived at a place that, if you are a capitalist, you are not going to win the primary. And, by the way, I was too much of a capitalist to win the election but, when you get to the primary, you’ve got to distance yourself from capitalism.

Well, where you do you go to? You go to socialism, which is leading you to where? Communism. And what is the basic premise of communism? The abolition of private property and, to abolish private property, you’ve got to take private property which means the state controls the property and the state controls the economy.

Even the most communistic state doesn’t have true communism and that’s China. China has a market economy with a communist government. They found out that the communist economic system just doesn’t work and so they’ve tried to amalgamate it, but that’s not what’s being taught in our universities.

In our universities, this redistribution of wealth mantra is to seize property, seize wealth with the power of taxation, the power of the government and redistribute it. That’s what’s being taught in the college. And, many times, we as parents thoughtlessly send our children off thinking we’re sending them to the universities of the ‘40s, the ‘50s, the ‘60s and, in reality, we’re sending them to the universities that the children of the ‘60s now teach in.

PARENTS, RESEARCH YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL AND TEACHERS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Parents also might want to consider what the major will be of their child. The report noted that STEM subjects like chemistry, economics, mathematics and physics have a lower Democrat to Republican ratio than social sciences and humanities.

For example, the report could not find a single Republican with an exclusive appointment to fields like gender studies, Africana studies and peace studies. This is out of the top 66 ranked colleges in the United States.

DR. REEDER: Let’s also make the analysis that, in the survey, in the military academies, it’s almost even, with Democrat identification a little bit higher. You pull out the military academies, now you go from 11 times to 13 times higher.

If your child goes to school and walks into a classroom, it is almost 14 times more likely that there’s going to be someone who embraces, at best, a socialist agenda and, likely, the very principles that undergirded the Communist Manifesto that was written by Karl Marx and funded by Engels.

DON’T FORGET YOUR CHURCH TEACHERS MATTER, TOO

Folks, what we’re trying to tell you is this: Ideas matter. Let me put it this way, you respond to things about the way you feel about things. The way you feel about things is conditioned by the way you think about things and the way you think about things is directly related to your teachers.

Therefore, please choose your teachers well. Get under sound preaching every Lord’s Day, get in a good discipleship group with a good teacher, read the right things and go to the right conferences.

And make sure your children are being taught by teachers who will shape their world and life view according to the principles and precepts of God’s Word with utter reliance upon the power of the Spirit of God with their eyes fixed on Jesus, Who came to save them from their sins and Who is coming again to bring us to a new heavens and a new earth and, until we get there, will teach us how to take every thought captive unto the obedience of Jesus Christ.

COMING UP TUESDAY: LOCAL GOVERNMENTS MAKE SHOCKING DECISIONS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a story and, if you thought sanctuary cities was a bad idea, I think you’re going to think this next story is really a bad idea.

HARRY REEDER: Tom, it is interesting to me how either disconnected people are, disinterested people are or apathetic they are in the matter of local government and I mean, directly, city government. Let’s take a look at a premier city in our nation and an unbelievable decision that’s about to be enacted unless the state government puts some type of a restraint on this. It is almost unthinkable.

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 Marxism is cool again — with people who don’t know of its horrors

(Wikicommons,Pixabay)

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KARL MARX STATUE BUILT DECADES AFTER BEING TORN DOWN: WHY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me take you to an article which ran about a week ago in The Washington Post. Nearly two centuries ago, the 17-year-old son of a vineyard owner left his tranquil riverside city on the edge of the Prussian empire to make his way in the world and, perhaps, to shake it up a bit. Harry, this individual we’re talking about, we recently celebrated his 200th birthday on May the 5th.  

DR. REEDER: Karl Marx is who we’re talking about. In his hometown, they erected an 18-foot statue with a lot of fanfare. What’s interesting is it wasn’t the state of Germany that paid for it, but it was China. China paid for it, who now says that they are the standard bearer for Karl Marx and his theory — his Communist Manifesto — that he wrote in context with a name by the name of Engels.

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And so, whenever you talk about Marx, you have to talk about Marx and Engels, or you have to talk about Marx and Lenin, or Marx and Stalin or Marx and Mao Zedong. These are the people who took the Communist Manifesto out of an economic analysis and made it a world and life view that included a messianic state. In other words, it was the state that would enforce the Manifesto and it was the state that would take hold of property, it was the state who would take hold of the economy and the state — and you’ll note that all of them became atheistic like Karl Marx, himself, who was an atheist.

When you saw that statue going up, if you saw the videos, you’ll see a lot of young people. Let me tell you what you won’t see. You won’t see any older people because those were the people who, in the 1980s, tore those statues down. They took down Lenin, they took down Stalin, they took down Marx — they took down all those, particularly, in East Germany. They were glad to get them down.

They were looking at these people that were celebrating the erection of that statue and they remember the days that they tore them down when the wall came down finally and, when that wall came down and all the repression.

When they see Karl Marx, let me tell you what they think: They think gulags, they think prisons, they think famine, they think deprivation. They think all that came with Communism, which was nothing but destruction. They also know that any notion of any freedom of religion is utterly gone because religion is seen as a threat because Communism is a religion.

And, by the way, atheism is a religion. From a Christian world and life view, even it’s with the negative, a-theism, “no god,” that is a religion. That’s a statement of belief that there was nothing and nothing created something and now something has produced all of this. It’s called materialism.

MARXISM = GOVERNMENT CONTROL

And Marx was drastically affected by a number of people, not the least of which was a philosopher by the name of Hagel and Hagel invented a world and life view that was atheistic materialism. And it is specifically what is called dialectical materialism and that is the explanation of everything is circular. Marx had a circular view of history because he had embraced a circular view of life from a philosopher by the name of Hagel.

And Hagel says this: You have thesis, you have antithesis. Thesis and antithesis are in conflict and the result is a synthesis. The synthesis becomes the new thesis, and that thesis automatically has a mutation of an antithesis and that just keeps repeating itself in a circular fashion.

That was Hagel’s dialectical materialism. Well, a guy by the name of Darwin takes that and applies it to “science,” a philosophical world and life view. You’ve got species, you have mutation and now this mutation and this species create a new species. That became known as evolution.

Now Marx takes it and Marx says you’ve got those in control of everything, property and resources — the bourgeois, those in control — and the people outside of control are the proletariat, the great masses. Well, the proletariat will rebel against the bourgeois and then that will create a new ruling class, a new bourgeois, which will create a new proletariat. And so, his circular view as revolution and that’s how he would advance his Marxist Communist theory.

You have Marx with the economic theory and Engels who applies the political and even more than Engels, Lenin. There are ten points to the Communist Manifesto. Number one issue — and Engels and Marx both say this — communism can only succeed with the abolition of private property and it is acknowledged that you will never be able to abolish private property without coercion and that means the power of the state. The state owns everything and distributes it to whoever it will.

RESURGENCE OF POPULARITY ISN’T FROM ACTUAL CONSTITUENTS

And so now Marx is cool. How did Marx get cool? Well, Marx was loved back in the ‘60s. Marx and then all of his adherents like Castro, and Che Guevera and others — they were all loved, they were all cool, we all had the t-shirts in college and everything. And then we began to see what that actually produces — gulags, prisons, famines — and then came tear down the statues, tear down the wall, and the ghost of Marx is now gone. It’s gone.

Well, you got to remember, as all those people in the ‘60s went to the schools to teach — and, Tom, we’re going to do a follow-up program to show that they’re teaching in our schools this world and life view. What’s happening? Now our students see it as cool.

That’s why, when you go to Germany and you see that 18-foot statue, Germans aren’t erecting it and older people who have actually experienced Marxism applied through the power of a Leninist/Stalinist/Mao Zedong state, you don’t see them celebrating it but you see it’s cool now.

Now it’s a matter of an imprint on a t-shirt again. It’s cool out of the colleges because the very people that promoted its destruction in the ‘60s as college students are now teaching in the colleges and that world and life view is being promoted.

Isn’t it wonderful? We can tax everybody, the government gets it and then the government will redistribute wealth to everyone. Anybody that believes that is believing a lie. If you think there’s a have and a have not, wait until you put the private property in the hands of the government and I’ll show you where there’s haves and have nots. And that’s exactly what was seen in Russia, which is why the Soviet Union collapsed, East Germany collapsed, all of them collapsed because the oppression and the tyranny finally was undone.

If you’re taking somebody else’s property to give it to me, it’s just a matter of time until you take my property to give it to somebody else. And, after a while, the government’s going to run out of resources when nobody has anything to produce anything.

WHY DOES SOCIALISM LOSE ITS APPEAL?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Yeah, I think it was Margaret Thatcher that said that the problem with socialism is, eventually, you run out of other people’s money.

DR. REEDER: Exactly and that’s why we need somebody to teach contemporary history. Let me tell you what communism does. Let me tell you what socialism, its stepchild, does. Go visit Venezuela and walk the streets of Cuba.

Now, do I agree that capitalism can lead to the greed of the consumption of wealth? Yes, but the answer to that is not the government, but the answer to that is the free practice of religion that calls people to a higher standard of life which is it’s more blessed to give than to receive. And so, when you create wealth, you now have something to give to other people.

Marx taps into something that we all love and that is for everyone to do well, but the answer is a state that protects the unalienable rights of the people to life, liberty and property and the pursuit of happiness.

MONDAY: THE REALITY OF MARXISM ON CAMPUS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let’s follow-up on this on Monday as we review the statistics out of the National Association of Scholars. Unfortunately, it is somewhat of a suspicions-confirmed type of study.

DR. REEDER: Tom, Marx is cool because the cultural elite have never let him go. The children of the ‘60s went into the entertainment industry, the media industry and, of course, into the academic world. And now the cultural elite are making Marx and Marxism as intellectually cool once again. Those are the people who are teaching in the colleges and in the universities and we’ll look at that in our next program.

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.

A pastor’s perspective on Alabama Attorney General’s ‘Faith Forum’ at Briarwood

(Marshall Campaign)

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NEW WHITE HOUSE FAITH AND OPPORTUNITY INITIATIVE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an article out of World Magazine, headline “Donald Trump Announces New White House Faith Initiative.” The president marked the National Day of Prayer last Thursday with a Rose Garden ceremony announcing the creation of a new White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

“The office will focus on protecting religious freedom, guaranteeing the faith-based and community organizers that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the federal government,” the president said. The White House later will appoint a special advisor who will lead the office and make recommendations to the administration.

IS THIS A NEW ERA?

Harry, indeed, we’ve gone through an era where it seems there’s been a real hostility from the federal government toward evangelical Christianity. While we don’t know the final outcome of creating this new office at the White House, nonetheless, it looks like it is a positive sign.

Harry, I also know that Briarwood has recently been involved in a faith forum and you had both national and state officials in attendance talking about many of the issues that affect our nation and how the church might be involved in those issues.

DR. REEDER: Coming out of the Reformation was a glorious, wonderful insight that the three spheres — church, state and family — are interdependent but should never be hierarchal and one should not use the other, although all three affect each other. You don’t use the power of the state to enforce the church and the church does not co-op the power of the state for itself.

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That was understood and that’s been developed and the fruition of it was this marvelous American experiment which says here are the three spheres — church, state and family — and individuals operate in those three spheres and the state’s job is to protect the free exercise of religion and then, in the free exercise of religion, you speak to the matters of the state in order to maintain and mature those basic principles of freedom and law.

The founding fathers said, “We don’t want a national church, but we want the church to speak to the nation.” Evangelicals, while they have personal and moral concerns in the present administration, on the other hand, they see some wonderful advancement in policy and appointments.

IT’S WISE TO ALLOW CHRISTIANS TO CONTRIBUTE TO GOVERNMENT AND LIVE OUT THEIR FAITH

Some very thoughtful and effective believers that find themselves in these positions by appointment in this administration and then some initiatives like the one that you’ve mentioned in which Christianity, in general, and evangelicals, in particular, are invited into the public square because the administration is declaring: We need your input in some of these matters and we want to support you in that.

And we actually had that experience on a local level. We were asked by the state attorney general in Alabama, Steve Marshall, he wanted to host about five forums reaching out to “people of faith” and reaching out to the churches on some of the issues facing the nation, in general, and the state, in particular. Some of those would be security and safety and another one would be the opioid epidemic. We hosted it.

Tom, it was an amazing time — I’m still amazed by it. And I don’t know whether simply to tip my hat to Washington, or Montgomery or to both but, most of all, I tip my hat, of course, to my Savior and His kind providence that lets events like this happen.

GREAT FOCUS ON HOW CHURCHES CAN HELP IN OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Our attorney general, Steve Marshall was very clear and he said, “We need the churches involvement in this opioid epidemic. You have no idea the depth of the problem that we’re facing in Alabama and even more in some states.” And he said, “Now, here’s what you can do for us,” and then when he finishes, he said, “Most of all is your work of evangelism.”

And then, from Washington, this very articulate and insightful lady began to give us the challenges and, three different times, she said this, “Now, look, our programs can help, our programs can retard the opioid epidemic, our programs can assist in all of those things but we can’t solve it.” And she just said, three different times, “It takes the Gospel of Jesus Christ to convert someone.”

And then they had a guy come in who gave a testimony. I’ll tell you, it took a long time to get through his testimony because there was a deep, dark path. This opioid epidemic is unbelievable in its devastation and how it’s accessed so quickly through prescription drugs. And then he gave this and how he got into it, and how easy it was to go deeper and deeper, and the destruction in his life, his marriage, his family, his children, his job, everything. And then God, by His grace, brought someone with the Gospel and another person into his life brought him to saving faith in Christ and now his life has been rebuilt.

It was a wonderful testimony and then, basically, she says, “See what I mean? Now, we were doing many things to help him, but that’s what it takes. We need you.” Now, she not only was right, but to hear someone from Washington saying that to us — articulate, insightful.

PREPARE FOR EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL THREATS TO CHURCHES

Then the expert that comes in about security in churches and he says, “Now, listen, there’s an external threat that people can come in with a gun,” and then he said, “Now here’s how you can set up your church.” And then he said very insightfully, “But your greatest threat is not from the outside.”

Now, as you know, Tom, I’ve had death threats — I understand all of that. He said: You know your greatest threat’s not from the outside; it’s from the inside. Let me tell you where it is. Churches are volunteer societies. You’ve got volunteers in your youth ministry, your children’s ministry and the nursery ministry and your greatest concern is to set up a proper process that doesn’t inhibit volunteers but does rightly screen them.

We work on the basis of volunteers. That can be a point of entry for someone who wants to manipulate the process in terms of predatorial behavior.

SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE IN OUR CHURCHES?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Is there anything that the church ought to be leery of with the federal government coming into the church? For example, I know a lot of people say, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get prayer back into schools?” The problem is who’s going to be leading the prayers?

HARRY REEDER: Here’s what you need to understand: You don’t want the government to fund religion because, once they fund it, they’ll control it, but you don’t want them to prohibit religion. And, if there are public funds that are accessible, then it’s fine to make those accessible but you’ve got to realize that it’s accessible to you, then they’re accessible for the Jewish synagogue and they’re accessible for the Islamic temple so you’ve got to understand that the government cannot pick winners and losers.

However, for me, that’s not a problem. I love to get in the game and compete. Let’s see what the Gospel does for people who are in addictive behaviors and let’s see what the man-made religions do for those in addictive behaviors. I’m all for that. Just give us access to the prison, give us access to the schools.

Don’t mandate people to have to participate in a “religious initiative,” but open the door for it and let’s see what that does in those institutions. We don’t want formal funding, but if there are facilities and things that are available, let’s get in and let’s all compete in the matters of life — just keep the public square open. And that’s what the government is supposed to do.

IT’S PROGRESS THAT THE GOVERNMENT REALIZES FAITH MATTERS AND CAN CHANGE SOCIETY

And I’m thankful for a government that understands this is not going to be solved by prisons and sentences and regulations. We need prisons, we need sentences, we need regulation — we need all of those things, but what it’s going to be solved is with what gets to the heart and these people had enough sense to say the Gospel gets to the heart. It doesn’t cosmetically change things through manipulative therapies; it is a heart change and that means a life change. When the heart changes, then lives change. When the heart changes and lives change, then communities change.

We don’t see changes unless people’s hearts get changed and the only thing we see changing that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a glorious time it was and I’m grateful we could do that.

And, again, I want to say to all of our listeners that any time that we can be of help by sharing our screening process and evaluation tools, we are more than happy to do that because we do need to understand the statistical likelihood of somebody walking in with a gun — not that that doesn’t need to be a concern — but that’s very small compared to people that would come into churches looking for volunteers and use that as an access for predatorial behavior. And any way that we can help our brothers and sisters, we would love to do that.

COMING UP FRIDAY: A CONTROVERSIAL BIRTHDAY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, we’re going to recognize a birthday — the 200th birthday of an individual that, when his name comes up, there are a lot of different responses.

DR. REEDER: There were statues to this man that were torn down in the 1980s and now we have an 18-foot statue that was financed and erected in Germany to him last Saturday so let’s take a look at that individual and that celebration from a Christian world and life view. And let’s let our folks just think about now who are we talking about? We’ll tell you 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 archaeology prove or disprove the Bible?

(Wikicommons)

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ARCHAEOLOGISTS CONTINUE TO FIND AMAZING PROOF RELATED TO BIBLE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, a new news item out of Israel’s newspaper, Haretz. Archeologists recently announced they had found a fantastically preserved seal impression that was made by a Biblical governor of Jerusalem. The seal dates from the seventh century, B.C., which puts it during the reign of King Josiah.  

DR. REEDER: Historians actually doubt even the existence of Jerusalem during those days and any structure of government that would include a governor. I think it’s two or three different times in the Bible during that particular reign of Josiah that the governor is affirmed and is mentioned.

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Now we find that archaeologists have uncovered an artifact that tells us, “Oh, hey, the Bible was accurate again when we said that it wasn’t accurate.” This actually rather new discipline from the late nineteenth century, archaeology, continues to affirm the historicity of the Bible.

Now, let me go ahead and say there are some things that archaeologists are saying that would question the accuracy of the Bible, but what we have found is, over a period of time, the very thing that question the accuracy of the Bible as more things are discovered, all of a sudden, they find out it does affirm the accuracy of the Bible.

For instance, Mary Magdalene, called Magdalene because she was from the area of Magdala, yet there was question as to whether or not there actually was a city like Magdala. Well, not only has archaeology affirmed the reality that there is a city called Magdala, but it has also affirmed the fact that it contained one of the seven synagogues that had been built in Israel. In fact, there are two of them on the Sea of Galilee — one at Capernaum and one at Magdala.

Just recently, when I was there couple of years ago, they have also uncovered the vineyard or the Garden of Naboth, who had his garden stolen by King Ahab and Jezebel. And Tom, there’s others as well.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Indeed. Seals to King Hezekiah, a latrine built to a desecrated pagan shrine and, in 1994, there was an inscribed stone known as a “stele” sound near Tel Dan in northern Israel.

DR. REEDER: That affirmed how Dan, as a tribe, had migrated up north and that had been questioned and now we find out that that is true. I remember the stories about Jesus — “Well, there was no Pontius Pilate. We can’t find any record of a Pontius Pilate in any of the extrabiblical sources, particularly, out of the Roman Empire.”

Except for, all of a sudden, now we have the writings of Josephus and we have the writings of Eusebius and, most of all, is right there at Caesarea-by-the-Sea where the governor’s palace had been built, they uncovered a stone with the name Pontius Pilate on it.

WITNESSES AND EVIDENCE CONFIRMS

Therefore, all of these things continually affirm the historicity of the Bible and historicity of Biblical truth is affirmed in the Scripture with appeals to it. Remember how Luke, when he talks about how had put together the Gospel of Luke and then later the Book of Acts, refers to the fact that he had obtained his data, likely while Paul was in prison in Caesarea-by-the-Sea from “eyewitnesses.”

Likely, he interviewed Mary, herself, who was under the care of the apostle John because of the way he refers to certain things that she says when he refers to Mary in the Biblical accounts. And, beyond that, Tom, you have the apostle Paul, in 1Corinthians 15, affirming the historicity of the resurrection when he says, “Here are the witnesses,” and he starts naming the personal witnesses, and the groups of witnesses and then he says, oh, by the way, there were 500 witnesses to whom Jesus appeared into Galilee. Obviously, at that time, you could have called upon probably all of those 500 witnesses.

You could have stopped Christianity dead in its tracks by just bringing out witnesses opposed to the resurrection that it actually didn’t happen or bringing out the body. They affirmed the historicity of an empty tomb and the historicity of witnesses to the resurrected Christ. The Bible is a book that is rooted in history.

NINETEENTH CENTURY CRITICS BEGAN TO CAST DOUBT

Here’s what many have said, beginning in the nineteenth century: “We think that these guys actually probably believed these things and that they were true. To them, they were true. That doesn’t mean that they were actually true.”

But what we find out is the Bible doesn’t know anything about truth in terms of relativity or relativism in terms of truth. True truth is what is truth and that, when it says something happened in history, if it didn’t happen in history, then the Bible is untrustworthy.

However, the Bible, we find out, is trustworthy and that Christianity is not a fabrication of men’s dreams but it is the revelation of Biblical truth in time and history and is verifiable in history as historical events.

NEW EVIDENCE EMERGES EVERY DAY TO PROVE BIBLE TRUE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we keep finding these pieces of evidence that verify the Bible is true. Have we ever found any evidence that there are things in the Bible that aren’t true?

DR. REEDER: We have found evidences that seemingly contradict Biblical truth but, as you move along in the study of that archeological pit, they find out, “Oh, wait, wait. It is true.” In other words, they’ll find something that points to the fact that it is true. There have been isolated things that have been picked up and then, as they continue to mature the study, then it always ends up affirming the Biblical account.

Of course, one of the most famous of all of these is the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We had been told many things like that the Book of Isaiah is not actually the Book of Isaiah — it’s three books by a claim of someone who used Isaiah’s name. Now, why did they do that? Well, they made that view of the Book of Isaiah up, not because there was any evidence but the Book of Isaiah contained prophesies. If you’ve got a prophesy, then you’ve got a God because only God can tell you what’s going to happen because prophesy is pre-written history. However, if you’ve got prophesy, then what you need to do is you need to post-date the book so that the guy’s really fabricating the story as a prophetic statement when, in reality, it has already occurred and he’s only reporting something that has occurred.

And then, lo and behold, we find out that, guess what? Dead Sea Scrolls, which pre-date Jesus, all of the Messianic prophesies were already recorded and they found them in the jars. Here are scrolls that pre-date Jesus and that affirm the unity of Isaiah, the actuality of Isaiah and the historicity of the prophecies which means that Jesus is a fulfillment of true prophecy.

WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DON’T BELIEVE THE BIBLE BUT SEE IT AS A MORAL STORY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, how ought we look at the Bible? You will, on one hand, have a number of people that will look at the Bible and say, “Oh, yes, this is a book of history,” but on the other hand you’ll have a group of people that say, “Well, this is just a book of nice stories. We can’t really believe it, but they have a lot of nice moral parables in them.”

DR. REEDER: Well, first of all, I would say to those people that is utterly ridiculous to take a Bible that tells you that there is a God that you must worship and, if you do not and if you sin against Him, you’re going to come under judgement, and there’s a place called Hell and there’s a place called Heaven, those cannot be good moral encouraging, inspiring stories. They have to be treated as fabrications that manipulate people if they are not true. If they are true, then praise the Lord.

I’m reminded of the story of the people that were riding by a church and the outside sign says, “Slow down. Stop. Destruction ahead,” and one guy got out of his car and went in there and said, “How dare you put that out there, manipulating people according to their fears?” “Well, because we don’t want you to be killed.” “Who are you to tell me…?” And they said, “Well, all we are are the people that the highway patrol called because, one mile down the road, the bridge is out so we used our sign to warn you.”

Well, the signs that believers put out warning of a judgment to come — in that case, we’re dealing with a physical death that awaited you but we give a warning of a spiritual death. The guy viewed that as manipulation until he found out what? That it was true. Therefore, people hear the warning of a judgement to come and see that as manipulation and rightly so if it’s not true but, if it’s true, it is a glorious gift of the grace of God not only to warn you of the judgement to come, but to make a way for you too escape through Jesus Christ.

YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE AND GOD’S PROMISE

The Bible is a dependable book. It’s not a history book and it’s not just a book of stories — it is a book of truth revealed through stories. And the greatest story is the greatest story ever told: God loves sinners, not by loving their sin, but by providing His son as a Redeemer so you can be delivered from your sins and that story is the truth. Here’s what Jesus says, “They word is 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 has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller

Don’t get hung up on church numbers — focus on church health, not size

(W.Miller/YHN)

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CHURCH MEDIAN AGES ARE ALARMING BUT IS THERE A PROBLEM?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to a story of statistics. Statistics never tell the whole story, but they can validate that a story exists. Two simple statistics can help explain the American church: one, the median church size is 75 people and, two, the median church age is 73 years.

DR. REEDER: Tom, now let’s get clarity as this new story also brings clarity. A statistician doesn’t cringe any more than when he hears people say, “Well, the median average is.” Those two terms don’t go together. Median means mid-point. In other words, when you take the churches in the United States of America, the median point of the size of churches is 75. In other words, half of the churches in the United States are above 75 and half are below 75. The median age is 73 — that is, half of the churches in the United States are above age 73 and half of the churches are below age 73. That’s the median point.

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And then, out of that, the majority of churches actually have less than 100 people, probably less than 75 people, and that’s where they are in their size. Now, how are we do see that? And, by the way, if you’re a pastor of one of those churches, how are you to look at that?

WHY IS GROWTH IMPORTANT?

We have a ministry, Tom, called “From Embers to a Flame” and “From Embers to a Flame” is taking the Biblically revealed paradigm for church revitalization. How can you lead your church back to healthy vitality and one of the points we make is your objective is not church growth, but it’s church health?

I didn’t tell my children to grow — “I want you to grow three inches” — but what I did was I fed them, exercised them and made sure they got rest. God had a DNA in them of what he had put within them and my job as a parent was not to make them grow. That’s why we don’t give them steroids for false growth. There’s a lot of churches of cultural steroids because they value growth more than health.

Therefore, it’s not big is good and small is bad or small’s good, big’s bad — it’s healthy. You want to be a spiritually healthy, Gospel-vital church. Now, where you’re located, your location and your generation are going to affect that. If I’m in a community that is declining, then likely I can have a healthy church but, actually, the statistics may be decreasing.

KEEP IT ALL IN PERSPECTIVE, NOT JUST ON FLAT NUMBERS

I was with a young man in the ministry and I had gone to do a conference for him and to spend some time with him at his request. And, in our prayer time together, he was weeping and I said, “What’s the problem?” and he said, “I feel like an utter failure.” I said, “Why?” and he said, “Well, when I came here, the church was 250 and now our average attendance is 175.”

This guy pastored in a church that was in a county that is the only county east of the Mississippi River that doesn’t have a traffic light. “What was the population when you arrived here in the county?” “Well, it was around 30,000.” I said, “What’s the population now in the county?” “It’s about 8,000.” The recession that hit the coal mining industry, people had moved out, businesses were shut down and it looked like a ghost town.

I said, “First of all, you’ve got 175 people and when you came it was 250 but, when you came, you had 250 people but there were 30,000 people here. Now you’ve got 175 people but there’s 8,000 people. Well, I’m not a whiz in math, but I do believe 175 out of 8,000 is a higher percentage of people in the country coming to your church than when you came and you had 250 but there were 30,000 people in the county. I could make a case that you’ve actually grown.”

THE BIBLE SHOWS EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY BIG AND SMALL CHURCHES

When I look at the Bible, I see the Bible bringing to us the testimony of a healthy church, not a “big church.” The Bible does not avoid statistics — they’re all over the place in the Book of Acts. When the Bible commends the church at Jerusalem — there are 3,000 and that’s just counting the men and then 5,000 were added and that’s just counting the men. People are being saved every day.

Likely, the church at Jerusalem at one time of those opening salvos of the first generation of the church when James became their pastor, the brother of the Lord, that church probably was somewhere between 14,000 and 18,000 people. Yet, look at the commendation that God gives to churches that are meeting in houses and that the apostle Paul affirms. Go read the Book of Revelation: two churches get a clean bill of health and they’re both house churches.

Therefore, it’s not that God says, “Oh, if you’re big, you’re good. If you’re small, you’re bad. Nor, if you’re small, you’re good and if you’re big, you’re bad.” What you need to see is it’s Gospel health is what you want. Your size, many times, is what will reflect where God has you.

It is said there are certain species of fish from which we get goldfish. The goldfish grows proportionately to the size of the pool that they’re in. Well, so it is with many churches. You can you have Gospel healthy church and there’s only 75 people in a small, rural town. And I praise the Lord for that — we need that.

GOD CHOOSES WHERE HE NEEDS YOU TO MINISTER

Tom, as you know, if I just had my druthers, I would have pastored a small Presbyterian church in a small southern town with a wonderful, laid-back lifestyle — my romantic desire in all of life. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, but God has seen fit to put me in other situations where there are larger churches and that’s what He has seen fit to do and that’s fine.

I don’t see myself as a superior pastor because my church is big. I just want to be faithful and I want to be effective. And if God puts you in a place where there’s booming population, well, that’s where you are. If God’s put you in a place where there’s a shrinking population, that’s where you are. What you aim at is effectiveness and church health and, God, give us maturation of longevity — not just we’re hanging around, but we keep growing in the Lord and our next years are even better than the last years. Even though the surrounding population may be shrinking, thereby affecting the size of our church, we’re still reaching our parish.

MAKE SURE YOUR CHURCH IS “WELL” FOR HEALTHY GROWTH

You want to aim at Gospel health and vitality. We call it a WELL Church. A WELL church is a church that:

W — worships with authenticity in spirit and in truth

E — evangelism and missions; you are reaching the lost with intentionality

L — loving one another; “They marveled at how they loved one another”

L — learning church

Therefore, you’ve got worship, that’s our ministry of upreach to God; evangelism, that’s our ministry of outreach to the world; loving one another, that’s our ministry to inreach to one another; then learning, that’s our ministry of downreach to ourselves that we’re being discipled and discipling others. That’s the testimony of vitality.

Normally, when you got a WELL church, just like a physical body grows and is healthy, so will a church grow statistically. In God’s providence, sometimes that statistical growth won’t be there because of the location and the generation, but it’s still a healthy church in that context.

STATISTICS MATTER BUT DON’T LET THEM DEFINE YOUR CHURCH

Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t use the metrics. If the metrics are showing something declining and it’s not explained by the dynamics in the community, then you need to take a look and say, “Wait, wait, wait. This statistic is revealing something is amiss.” But the answer is not to puff up the statistics because your mission is not growth; your mission is to make disciples that are healthy.

And don’t you love it in the Great Commission where it says the disciples of Jesus, when they saw Him after His resurrection, it says they worshipped Him — W. Then He tells them to go — that’s evangelism. Then He tells them to baptize and that’s when believers and their household are enfolded into the body of Christ — when they love one another. And then He says, “Teach them to observe all I have commanded you — that calls for learning with conviction in your life and that’s what we look to the Lord to do.

Therefore, Tom, statistics don’t lie, but liars can use statistics and statistics can lead you to the wrong place if you don’t have the right paradigm. In the ministry, your paradigm is fix your eyes on Jesus, fulfill the Great Commission, live the Great Commandment and then have a great commitment to Christ and then, “God, thank you for where I am. Where I am let me raise a standard. The size of the church will reflect where I am. The health of the church will reflect the grace of God that is greater than our sins.”

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.

 

In the U.K., you only have value if you are wanted

(Pixabay)

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BRITAIN’S GOVERNMENT: HELPING LONELINESS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Loneliness has become such a problem in the United Kingdom that the country now has a Minister of Loneliness. Prime Minister Theresa May announced the creation of the new position. May stated, “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life.”   

DR. REEDER: There’s a number of things here, Tom, from a Christian world and life view, looking at this news report that Forbes has brought to us. Number one is, of course, the go-to now in Britain, fully-embedded, whatever the issues are in the nation, the government is our solution.

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It’s really a totally different mindset than what is embedded in our Constitution and in our historic values in America, which was the government had a responsibility to maintain law and order and it had a responsibility for the general welfare in terms of commerce and upholding the rights that God had given to all of its citizens, but it wasn’t the go-to solution to the issues of the day.

It was supposed to protect society and its freedoms and then out of society would come the answers as people would address the issues, thus, the First Amendment which was the free practice of religion and free speech, assembly, etc.

However, in Britain, it’s automatically assumed, even on the conservative side and the conservative party there, that the answer is found in governmental provision. They had a survey that was done and the survey came back and showed that, throughout society, there was loneliness because of a sense of — now hear this word carefully — alienation.

And the two demographics that manifested it the most were the youth and teenagers and the elderly. The elderly, they felt alienated, lonely, abandoned and youth felt alienated and lonely. The roots of this issue of alienation has its roots in only one place and there’s only one solution to it but what are some of the contributing factors?

A PRO-ABORTION CULTURE JUDGES YOU ON WHETHER YOU ARE WANTED

In a culture that embraces death such as abortion and, at the moment, passive euthanasia but rapidly becoming active, the two segments of the demography is going to be the youth and the elderly who are sensing, on the one hand, “I’m not wanted,” and on the other hand, “The only reason I’m here is because somebody said, ‘Well, I think I want them,’ but I don’t have any intrinsic dignity other than somebody wanted me.”

Therefore, you set up this idolatry of affirmation and this idolatry of being wanted and, actually, you can never be wanted enough by people around you to feel that you are significant and that you have dignity.

Christian world and life view says, no, you don’t have dignity because you are wanted and you don’t have dignity because you are considered in the realm of perfection in society physically and mentally — you are wanted because you are made in the image of God and you have an intrinsic dignity that God has given to you and that God has granted to you by making you in His image.

That world and life view comes at it totally differently than the notion that your existence is dependent on the fact that you’re wanted. If you’re not wanted or if you’re not considered perfect — if we get a reading in your birth process that there may be some abnormality with you — then we are going to destroy you.

Recently, Tom, there was a pro-abortion advertisement and this lady is now suing them because they took a picture of her 9-year-old child with some challenging deformities and said, “If you pro-life people want to give birth to people like this, fine, but society’s not going to help you.”

In other words, “Society has determined that child was not worth living and, if you didn’t decide to destroy that child in the womb, then we’re going to cut you off from society because we have decided that those lives are not worth living.” That comes straight out of the eugenics movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

HOW DOES SOCIAL MEDIA TIE INTO ALIENATION?

There’s a second thing that’s at work here and I think it’s social media. Everybody is judging their worth by if I put something on Facebook, how many likes do I get? How many friends do I have? And, by the way, forget the notion that those people really aren’t friends — there is this desire to be connected to people and social media says we can do it.

It’s being marketed as, “You are somebody because you are liked by people. You are their friends. You are connected to them. You put something on the internet — some stream of consciousness statement — and then people are going to like it. And, see, that means people like you.”

Particularly, the youth are susceptible to that and this alienation issue is continuing. The elderly think, “We’re not wanted. We’re not considered desirable for society. We are a blight on society. We are a burden to society.”

Well, the answer is, according to Theresa May, we’ll get a Minister to Loneliness.

IS LONELINESS A LEGITIMATE CONCERN?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, to that end, Vivek Murthy, who was the former surgeon general of the United States, recently wrote, “Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s.”

DR. REEDER: As one writer said years ago in the book, MegaTrends, high-tech will be low-touch. Everybody’s got the high tech, but there’s no face-to-face relationships. There’s no getting in one another’s life — it’s all digital. Nothing sinful about media or technology — that’s amoral — it’s how is it being used and how is it being embraced? It’s one thing for it to be an instrument of communication, but it’s another thing that it is the source of your meaning in life and your significance in life. And so, what’s being found out is that, well, it just doesn’t work and I’m not sensing my worth in life. And then, on the other hand, somebody unfriends me and then there’s a sense of alienation.

Therefore, what do we do about this increasing alienation? Well, we need to understand that the foundation of it is that, apart from Christ, we’re alienated from God because of our sin. And what does our sin do? It leads us to idolatry — that we live in contradiction to the God that we were made for His glory and to enjoy Him forever.

Therefore, “No, I will make my own gods to give me my joy,” and so we embrace the idolatry of achievement, of academics, of athletics, or of social media or the digital world. We embrace the idolatry that there is my meaning, and strength, and significance, and security and life and it never delivers. It’s Ecclesiastes all over again: “Everything is empty; all is vanity.”

ALIENATION FROM GOD IS WHAT CHRIST OVERCAME FOR US

The answer is not to upgrade your use of social media, but the answer is to come to Christ.

I love the Gospel message in 2 Corinthians 5 that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself — that God was in Christ, reconciling. In other words, we were alienated from him because of our sin. God sends His Son, who goes to the cross and, when He goes to the cross, He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus Christ, at the cross, takes our old record of our life, our record of sin and He pays for it by taking the judgment that should have been due to us and He puts Himself in our place. I love that passage in 2 Corinthians 5 where it says, “God did not count our transgressions, our sins against us. He counted it against Christ and Christ paid for those sins.” So that, when you come to Christ, He takes your sins — they’re changed from you to Him — and He pays for them. And then He takes His righteousness and gives it to you with His blessings.

And you’re reconciled to God and you now have a life of reconciliation and you are reconciled to others because now I don’t look at my husband, my wife, my Facebook, my technology or any of that as my meaning in life because I have meaning in life — I am a child of God. I have a relationship with God and I can enjoy Him forever and God is right within me.

Therefore, I say to folks the minister to loneliness is not a cabinet position; the minister to loneliness is the one with the message of reconciliation and the Good News that Jesus saves sinners. And the minister to loneliness is Jesus Christ, Who will make you right with God and then send His Spirit so that He is now at work right within you and will never leave you, nor forsake you. Now you’re free to enjoy life for His glory because you enjoy Him and His glory. There is your minister of loneliness. Come to 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.

 

Startling number of Christians are persecuted around the world

(Wikicommons)

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STARTLING STATISTICS SHOW CHRISTIANS ARE LIVING IN PERIL

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, additional statistics are in from the Open Doors’ Intolerance against Christians. The number of Christians murdered increased to more than 3,000 in 2017. The report analyzes the data collected in 2017, a year in which according to the organization serving persecuted Christians worldwide, violence against Christians has significantly increased. Right now, 1 in 12 Christians live where Christianity is illegal, forbidden or punished the organization says.

DR. REEDER: 1 out of every 10 Christians is living under the threat of the loss of their life when they wake up in the morning, either by government action or government approval. If you go through the list of nations, almost all of them — except for one notable exception — these are Islamic nations where the radical militant Islamic fascist that is government use of power is constantly being brought to bear.

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Notably, in places like Pakistan, there were about 100 plus incidents of churches being attacked last year, and Afghanistan, where we have troops, actually, fighting this war on terror, the northern part of Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The most notable exception is North Korea.

Now, what should be noted as we take a look at it, Tom, is that this is always a religious phenomenon. The persecution against Christians is, by and large, vast majority governmentally enforced where the Islamic religion controls the culture and controls the government.

NORTH KOREA IS A UNIQUE PLACE OF PERSECUTION

An exception, of course, would be North Korea, where we have the old-line persecution that we saw back in the twentieth century — an old-line persecution of a government that is confessedly atheistic. It then puts to death anything that would rival the government and Christianity is seen as a rival because Christians are discipled to be good citizens, but they are also discipled that the government as God is not to be worshipped and that Caesar is not Lord, but only the Lord is the Lord.

And so, we see a place like North Korea where you have not only a confessed and governmentally documented atheisms, in general, in terms of the religions of mankind, but you have the deification of the dictator. And so, he must be worshipped and, therefore, Christianity is seen as the enemy and, thus, Christians are targeted in North Korea.

Therefore, Tom, that’s what we see at work and I think of my brothers and sisters and where they are, but I also want you to know that there are verified reports that, in those places, a robust movement of Christianity is taking place.

MISSION WORK AT CHURCHES MUST BE A PRIORITY

I am not allowed to give any of the internals of this, but at Briarwood, we are engaged in Asia, in Indonesia, in Pakistan, in India and we are also engaged at certain places in Asia — again, I cannot be more specific but I will be specific about this one but not the mechanisms that are being used — we’re being engaged in Iran.

Doing what? We are able to provide literature, we are able to provide encouragement and support and we are able to provide training for ministers who are pastoring churches that are “underground churches” in these nations of persecution. And, of course, we’re doing that along with a number of others and one agency that is of extraordinary help to us is the one that has brought the statistics to bear and that is Open Doors. We have found them to be insightful and reliable and extremely helpful.

Now, at Briarwood, our people with their sacrificial and generous has allowed us to do some things beyond our normal focus that predominates what we do — which is evangelism, discipleship, church planting and church revitalization — and one of the things we’ve been able to do over the last couple of years is minister to the persecuted church.

And we actually even set up a subcommittee in our missions ministry to gain the information. We have multiple communications that we do not share publicly and on the internet that we are privy to of those who are serving the Lord in very, very difficult and dangerous situations. We are getting reports of significant multiplication of believers and leaders in these very areas.

WHAT SATAN TRIES TO STAMP OUT, GOD ALLOWS TO FLOURISH

And, again, it’s being born out that, when Satan brings persecution, he thinks he’s going to stamp out the church but, in reality, all he’s doing is spreading the church. You see a great example of that when the persecution hit Jerusalem in the Book of Acts and all it did was spread Christianity to Judea, and Samaria, and to a place called Antioch and then on to the world.

That’s what is happening and, in fact, in some of these places, these persecuted Christians are actually sending missionaries to other persecuted areas. It’s really a phenomenon that is so encouraging.

Now, having said that, I would like to call upon our nation to understand what is being done, stand against any and all religious persecution but realize how, in a very significant way, Christians are in the crosshairs and we need to come to the rescue of these people with governmental policies. I’m not talking about military invasions, but governmental policies dealing with nations that have sanctioned persecutions against religion, in general, but Christians, in particular.

SCRIPTURE TELLS US HOW TO TREAT OUR PERSECUTED BRETHREN

For us, as Christians, Tom, there’s a wonderful passage of Scripture I ask our folks to read. Would you read it today?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, you’re talking about Hebrews, Chapter 13, specifically Verse 3, but let me pick up at Verse 1.

“Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers: for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners as though imprisoned with them and those that are ill-treated, since you yourselves are also in the body.”

DR. REEDER: And you were correct to read the context because the writer of Hebrews is writing at a time when persecution is starting to be felt in the first century so he’s telling us to keep loving each other even though you may get persecuted because you love the Lord and love each other.

Show hospitality — don’t close off your heart. Then he’s referring to the event when Abraham and Sarah showed hospitality to three strangers and it was actually the entertaining of two angels and a Christophany, a pre-Incarnate appearance of Christ, recorded in the Book of Genesis.

And then, of course, he then says that we are to visit the prisoners. The context is talking about the believers who have been imprisoned and who are being persecuted and assaulted. That’s why it says remember their suffering. You, too, are in the body. You have a body and you know what it means to suffer. And if you know what it means to suffer, you know how you would want people to help you in your suffering.

Now you see them who are suffering in their imprisonment and under assault — reach out to them and minister to them. Don’t go run from your brothers who are imprisoned and under persecution; run to them. Don’t run from them; run to them. Don’t disassociate yourself from them; embrace them.

Therefore, that’s why I would strongly encourage every church to embrace the ministry to the persecuted church in some form or fashion. There are many places we can tell you about the value of the enterprise of missionary endeavor, but one of the places we can’t talk about much because we can’t get the information — but it is there and there are those that can help you such as Open Doors — are our brothers and sisters who are dying for the faith.

UGANDA IS A WONDERFUL STORY OF HOPE AFTER PERSECUTION

Tom, I’ll just simply finish that one of the places that I’ve gone is Uganda in the 1980’s when Idi Amin and Obote were putting to death Christians. I went to the place where hundreds of my brothers and sisters were persecuted in gruesome deaths and I stood there and realized what had happened.

Today, Uganda, beginning in the late 1970’s, has been the epicenter of the East and Central Africa revival that is now going into it’s fourth decade and Uganda now has the vast majority of its citizens professing Christ, a stable economy and all of the blessings that have come from it. That’s what God can do — these very areas of persecution can become epicenters of a Gospel revival.

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 is North Korea’s motivation?

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SHOULD TRUMP GET PEACE PRIZE FOR NORTH KOREAN TALKS?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, Sky News is reporting that the president of South Korea, President Moon, has said President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. “What we need is only peace,” Mr. Moon told a room of senior secretaries, according to an official who briefed the media.

Harry, we are now wondering what is the motivating factor behind North Korean president, Kim Jong Un, who now says he is all in favor of a denuclearized North and South Korea?

WHAT IS NORTH KOREA’S REAL MOTIVATION?

DR. REEDER: On the one hand, you find this movement by the deified dictator, a supreme ruler of North Korea, moving toward what seems to be a very generous desire for denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula of both North and South Korea without even demanding that United States Troops be taken off of the peninsula.

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Is this an attempt to tweak the nose of China, saying, “Look, I can build a much more beneficial relationship with South Korea, and Japan and America and rescue my country economically”? And let’s face it, in North Korea, the people are literally starving.

Is it a shot across the bow to China or, as some have mentioned, none of this started until Kim Jong Un went to China and had these talks and, when he comes back, all of this begins to unfold? Yet, what he is offering is clearly not the line that China has always demanded and that is the removal of United States troops.

IN DECADES PAST, NORTH KOREA WAS HOTBED FOR CHRISTIAN REVIVAL

Tom, let me give you a little bit of a backstory. If you go over to Korea, there are over 19 seminaries with thousands of Koreans in the seminaries. And I’m particularly aware of them and I’m speaking of 19 theological seminaries that are committed to Presbyterian and reform theology and an evangelical approach to the Word of God and faithfulness to Christ.

I happen to be aware of them because, at one time, every single one of the presidents of these seminaries had been educated at my theological alma mater, Westminster Seminary, which has had a profound influence.

Well, all of that came out of great revivals in Korea. What people don’t know is the great revivals which preceded the Korean conflict took place in what today is called Northern Korea. The capital of Northern Korea, Pyongyang, was a hotbed of the revival.

Well, when the Communist revolution came and targeted Christianity, they all fled south and so many South Koreans actually have a North Korean root and these South Korean Christians who dearly love the Lord and who dearly love their homeland which is North Korea, if that door opens up and they flood back in, there’s going to be, again, quite a bit of either tension or accommodation in terms of religious freedom.

And that is actually one of the conversations that is actually taking place now — about the return of these Christians back to North Korea where their ancestral homes and families were and where the revival actually broke out that swept Korea so powerfully in the 20th century.

IS THIS A POLITICAL MOVE SIMILAR TO REAGAN AND GORBACHEV?

There are all kinds of factors that are happening here. The question that, when you’re looking at it in terms of statecraft, is this the wily move of this dictator cozying up to South Korea and, by doing that, making accommodations to the United States and to Japan because, economically, that’s going to be a much greater favor to him than it is to continue in the relationship with China which is making demands of him but is not able to really supply the kind of economic firepower that they need to get that country back on its feet?

However, in a sense, Tom, this is a Gorbachev moment. In the days of the presidency of Ronald Reagan when his policies forced the Soviet Union into a military buildup and to an economic competition that they could not stand and, as it began to unravel economically, then the political opportunities opened up and Gorbachev then opened the door for conversations with the United States, which ended up with the proverbial, “Tear the wall down,” and the wall got torn down.

And the Soviet Union, was we knew it when I was a kid, dissipated into a series of various countries as all of these countries that had been conquered and brought into what was called the Soviet Union now gravitated out to their own autonomous rule and then what was left in place was “Mother Russia” or, as we know it today, Russia. And, of course, we see the president/dictator of Russia, Putin, trying to again reestablish the Soviet Union empire with his aggressive movements to surrounding nations.

Back then, the economic unraveling opened the door and then came the famous talks whereby there was the denuclearization, there were the arms limitations that were placed in which the Gorbachev and Reagan negotiators came to an agreement that instituted a peace and an open door, politically, economically and culturally.

CAN THIS MIRROR HOW CHRISTIANITY SPREAD THROUGH RUSSIA?

And, by the way, I remember in those days an open door spiritually because a number of us were part of various organizations that flooded Russia with evangelicals who would bring the Gospel and also a Biblical world and life view into Russia. It was so vast, this movement, that Russia even had a kickback on it because it was almost overwhelming.

And you can’t help but wonder, is that this moment now with the economic unraveling of North Korea? Is a door opening up politically and, therefore, culturally and therefore now the open door to send the Gospel into North Korea may be around the corner just as it was back in the Gorbachev days and the opening up and tearing down of the wall and the “Iron Curtain.”

If it does happen, will we be in a position, as the church of our Lord, to take advantage of it? There are a number of seminaries that are positioning themselves to be supportive of any training of pastors and sending of pastors into North Korea, which many anticipate may be around the corner.

TRUMP’S STRATEGY SEEMS TO BE WORKING … FOR NOW

Now what does this mean for President Trump? Well, clearly, his approach to this has been, in terms of statecraft, very unorthodox. When you had the calling of these derogatory names, we can unleash fire and fury upon North Korea as they were testing all these rockets but, at the same time, President Trump had sent Mike Pompeo on a backchannel mission that seems to have borne fruit and be directly related to these recent talks between the leadership of North and South Korea and the profound statements of unreserved commitment to denuclearize the entire peninsula, yet leaving American troops there at least for the initial time while this process takes place.

And would that lead to the reunification of North and South Korea? All of that seems to be up in the air and these are exciting times to see what happens. It may open up significant doors for the work of the Gospel moving back into North Korea where it once flourished and overflowed into South Korea. Now it may reverse the flow back into North Korea and great missionary opportunities may be just around the corner.

IT’S TIME TO GET THE GOSPEL BACK INTO NORTH KOREA

I’ll end up with this: from a Christian world and life view, I am praying diligently that these talks move ahead, the arms control will be established, the denuclearization of the entire peninsula will take place, conversations that may even lead to reunification but, most of all, the removal of borders and policies that have prevented Christianity from going into North Korea except for those willing to be martyred.

We have this wonderful missions pastor, Brian Wintersteen, doing a great job of leading us and building on the wonderful foundation of our legendary missions pastor, Tom Cheely, and many times he and I sat in Asia when we were there to do preaching and he would say, “Harry, I am praying that God would let me get the Gospel into North Korea in my lifetime.”

Tom, it looks like you were prophetic but you had the timing wrong. You went to be with the Lord, but I almost have to believe that, somehow, in the presence of the Lord, he is still interceding.

Lord, let’s get the Gospel to North Korea, into what once was an unbelievably dark area. They have satellite pictures — there is all kinds of lights in the south but, in North Korea, it is pitch black. What a metaphor. May we send the light of the Gospel into the darkness.

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.

PARENTS: Who is teaching your child, the iPad, the teacher you disagree with, or you?

(Pixabay)

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IS OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL DIET AS IMPORTANT AS OUR PHYSICAL DIET?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an op-ed piece in USA Today. It appeared about two weeks ago written by Art Friends, a clinical psychologist. He says — remember, you are what you eat and we apply that to what we eat physically — when you go into a restaurant, oftentimes, you see what the calorie count might be, how healthy it is for your life — you can make that decision.

However, he goes on to say, in particular, it is easy to not notice the unhealthy or even toxic ingredients in the massive amounts of television programming, social media apps and various tech and screen activities that we expose ourselves to each and every day.

PARENTS MUST MONITOR CHILDREN’S EXPOSURE TO TECHNOLOGY

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DR. REEDER: Tom, let’s put the Christian world and life view framing around this upfront: parents need to be engaged, not simply in what is your child looking at on television and what is your child accessing through the technology of iPhones and iPads, but even should be they be in front of the television and should they even have that technology in their hands? And, if so, when and, if so, how do you engage in parental oversight?

Yesterday, we looked at the erosion of parental rights. Today, we want to look at actually activating your parental rights for your child’s nurturing environment as they grow up. And you’ve got to understand that, while television and technology are amoral — they’re not evil — they also are instruments. They are mediums and something is coming through them. It is not the iPhone that is the sin, but what is coming through the iPhone and what your child is accessing.

You type something in on your internet search because you want to shop for something and, the next thing you know, within ten hours, you got 30 ads by various companies on that object or related objects. Well, that happens way beyond the consumption of goods in terms of people that are using the internet to get into your life and determine what information’s coming to your life.

JESUS GIVES US SAGE GUIDELINES

What we’ve got to do, Tom, is believe our Savior. Our Savior said this. These are three phrases that He said related to the parable of the sower and a couple of other parables:

-Be careful who you listen to.

-Be careful what you listen to.

-Be careful how you listen.

Therefore, who, what and how you listen and realize that, when you move into the area of public broadcast or cable broadcast, to a certain degree you start losing control. And then your child, who has less abilities than you to make discerning decisions about who, what and how to listen through their use of television and technology, your child, many times, is out there in this wasteland that is utterly destructive.

You made a great point of nutritional information and knowing that you are what you eat. Well, spiritually and lifestyle, you are what you listen to, who you listen to and how you listen to it. Here’s what Jesus said when all is said and done, the pupil will become like his teacher. In other words, the blind will lead the blind and they both fall into the pit.

Who are you listening to? You’re going to start being affected too. What are you listening to? You’re going to be affected by it. How are you listening? You’re going to be affected by it. That’s why Paul commended the Bereans that they examined the Scriptures to see if these things are so. Learners must be discerning of who you are learning from, what you are learning from and how you are factoring and filtering what you are learning and how you are dealing with it and what you’re going to do with it.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE WISE TEACHERS, TOO

We who are engaged in the media, we have to bear responsibility for what we teach and how we teach it because the teacher incurs a stricter judgment. Why would the teacher incur a stricter judgment? Because teaching communication actually does have effects and consequences. That’s why we incur a stricter judgment.

Well, if teachers incur a stricter judgment because what they teach and do affects people, then all of us when we are in positions of learning, we need to be careful who we select as our teachers, what we are listening to and how we are listening to it.

That includes reading as well: everything that is produced in communication has a world and life view. Nothing is neutral, but those who are using it are not unneutral and they are not amoral — they have a world and life view that is being communicated.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, for many of us, it’s obvious what is moral and immoral and those decisions might seem black and white. As you talk about discernment for what we read and who we listen to, how can you discern which ones will be speaking the truth?

EXAMINE TEACHERS’ WORLD AND LIFE VIEW

DR. REEDER: Whenever I’m listening to a teacher, I don’t demand that they are Christian, but I do look at their world and life view and, thankfully, even non-Christians, because of common grace, can make communication worthwhile. There are a number of people I won’t mention who are not believers who talk about issues very competently and, because of God’s common grace, they not only know their stuff, they have remnants of a world and life view that are actually beneficial.

Therefore, I don’t demand that they are Christians in every area, but I do say choose your teachers. We will send our children into institutions of learning by teachers that you wouldn’t let your children spend 30 minutes with alone outside of that classroom because of their lifestyle and you’ve got to realize that their lifestyle comes from a world and life view and that world and life view affects how they present the data within a classroom or the data if they’re mentoring someone.

Be careful who you listen to — I can’t say it any better than Jesus — be careful what you listen to and how you listen to it. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, does not stand in the path of sinners and does not sit in the seat of the scorner.” Go on to that next verse, “His delight is in the law of the Lord and, in His law, he meditates day and night.”

Find teachers who not only know their stuff and are affected by God’s common grace, find teachers who extoll redeeming grace and, certainly, the best way to deal with the teachers that are in the world as we are seeking to learn throughout life, is to make sure you’re under solid Biblical preaching day in and day out.

DISCERNMENT IN CHURCH SELECTION IS ALSO IMPORTANT

Be somewhere in a church where there is expository preaching that is being applied to all of life. Don’t just pick a church where there’s an appealing and attractive personality on the podium and tells good “coach me up” stories, but that pastor is a pastor-teacher who is equipping you with expository preaching.

And then, from that, start choosing your teachers in life within your vocation. Who is teaching you, what are they saying and how are they saying it? That will affect not only what you are learning, but it will affect your heart and then, from your heart, you will begin to speak and make decisions in life.

Just as you are what you eat, you are what you listen to and you become like those whom you listen to. Therefore, in your how to listen, make good choices who you’re listening to and what you’re listening to, who you are reading and what you are reading.

BUILD A CORE LIBRARY OF KNOWLEDGE AND STICK TO IT

Build in your life, first of all, good preaching, then get some good books. There are four programs that I will watch and, because we are out doing things when those programs happen, I’m thankful for the technology. We actually tape them so not only can I be selective of the four programs I want to watch in light of their value and enjoyment as well as instruction, but I also get to fast forward through all of the commercials. And, by the way, they affect you also — believe me, those people are experts at controlling your wants and desires to make yesterday’s luxuries today’s necessities that you think you can’t live without.

STUDY THE WORD OF GOD TO GROW CLOSER TO HIM

Honestly, I’m grateful to be able to fast forward by the commercials but let me give a commercial here: Come to Jesus Christ and love His Word because, through the Word of God, you can know the God of the Word. Now, you can know the Word of God without knowing the God of the Word but you cannot know the God of the Word without the Word of God.

And, when you know from the Word of God the God of the Word, then you can leave a life by the grace of God to the glory of God and choose those teachers who exalt the Lord, your God, in your life from His Word in every arena of 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 and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

 

Alfie Evans and the ever-encroaching overreach of the state, diminishment of parental rights

Alfie Evans' father (Daily Mail/YouTube)

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ALFIE EVANS, SOCIALIZED HEALTHCARE, AND LACK OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, a few months back, we did a story on a young toddler in England named Charlie Gard. If you remember, this young man had a terminal illness. His parents were told they could not seek further help and they were denied the right to bring the young boy over to America for treatment.

Harry, unfortunately, this same type of situation has happened again, this time, in Liverpool, England. The toddler’s name is Alfie Evans. His parents, Tom Evans and Katie James, have been denied the opportunity by the British government to take their young son over to Italy where the Vatican has offered help and where the Italian government has offered citizenship for the young boy.

Harry, obviously, a number of people look at this and say, “What extreme overreach by the government.”

DR. REEDER: The Charlie Gard situation identified the horrific nature of the overreach of the government in Great Britain and noted how it was very much related to cost saving and socialist healthcare as well as denial of the supremacy of parental rights, even to the point of keeping the child from an immigration status when everybody was willing to pay for it but they determined — “for the sake of the child,” we’re going to put the child to death.

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Now we’ve got another situation with a child. The Pope has intervened with his plea and the Vatican has intervened by approaching the Italian government, which has offered to make the child a citizen of Italy and take full responsibility for the child. And the famous Bambino Roman Catholic Children’s Hospital has already secured treatment for the child in an effort to save the child’s life.

DESPITE OFFERS OF TREATMENT AND IMMIGRATION, GREAT BRITAIN REFUSED TO LET CHILD GO

Not only have the authorities in Great Britain decided that the parents must end the life support systems on the child, but they are not allowed because, for the sake of the child, if you do this, you are going to cause the child unnecessary suffering. Therefore, we are going to intervene and say — no, we’re going to pull the life support system.

And, by the way, you’ve got the child making a vote — they took the life support systems and the doctors said, “He’ll only last a few moments,” and, as of the moment that we are recording this program, he is still breathing. Clearly, he wants to live and has far outstripped their prognostications that he would die in minutes or hours. (Editor’s Note: Alfie Evans passed away last week.)

What you have here is the erosion of something that is foundational to any humane society and for the functioning of any society, not only marriage and family — as defined as one man, one woman, one life — with parental responsibility for children that have been entrusted to them by the Creator.

THE STATE IS NOW REDEFINING PARENTAL ABUSE

And we have always affirmed the supremacy of parental rights. Now, we know we’re in a fallen world so the state has certain responsibilities if parents use their rights for the destruction of the child’s well-being, physically, emotionally, etc. And if that happens, then we have a system of court appeals in order to appropriately intervene on behalf of the child when parental rights are used for the outright physical, mental or emotional abuse of the child and we have always used that in western civilization in those extraordinary moments.

But, of course, the tenuous thing is what do you declare as abusive? Well, now we have a state declaring parents are abusive by trying to get the treatment that would give their child an extended life, maybe even a cure in life or comfort in the thing that the child is facing through the expertise of a renowned hospital.

And England has said — no, we have decided your efforts are actually abusive of the child and, therefore, we strip you of your rights and affirm the supremacy of the ever-encroaching power of the state over the children in families.

In other words, the state is now declaring its supremacy over a child’s nurturing. The state has declared reputable medical institutions and means to treat the child as injurious to the child, removing life support from the child for the death of the child.

What we see is an ever-encroaching overreach of the state and diminishing of the family and, specifically, the erosion of parental rights in the caring of children and now children are seen as children of the state, not children of a family with rights that are to be protected by the state.

IS THIS HAPPENING IN AMERICA?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, lest anyone thinks, “Well, that’s over in Great Britain; that wouldn’t happen here,” Rhode Island has recently enacted a law stripping parents of their right to object to providing treatment for gender transition to children who show signs of gender dysphoria. The law also prohibited medical professionals from refusing to provide or refer for gender transition services.

Out in California, they recently passed the “California Healthy Youth Act.” That bill deals with teaching young people in their schools what many would call perversions of a Biblical sexual lifestyle. In Orange County, the school district superintendent, Ronald Wenkart, says parents do not have the right to opt out their children from this sexual education, which in part they use materials from Planned Parenthood.

DR. REEDER: Tom, even on this program, as I said to you when we were talking about producing this program, the curriculum that parents do not have the right to remove their children from in Orange County, California is curriculum that, on this program, you and I cannot read the paragraphs and I said to you — and you, of course, agreed — “We cannot put this on the air.”

The curriculum that is describing unnatural sex that is more than unnatural, and distasteful and beyond perversion and parents who are aware of the content produced by Planned Parenthood that exalts, extolls, explains and commends perverse acts of unnatural sex are now not allowed to opt their children out.

And here’s what the educator says: You cannot take them out simply because you want them to; we are going to teach them about this breadth of sexual experiences. You are free to oppose it with your teaching in your home and your church.

And now the state has assumed moments where they are now going to put their stamp of approval upon parents having the right to teach their children not to engage in the destructive activities of unnatural and perverse sexuality. And, by the way, your churches and your homes, if you want to oppose this, you can in your homes.

THE GOVERNMENT NOW ASSUMES FALSE POSITION OF AUTHORITY

Look how gracious our government has become that they will allow us to actually speak about it, but they won’t allow us to protect our children from this vile curriculum. I am amazed at the overreach of the government through the educational system and control of our children here in America.

Therefore, when you look at England and the Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans case, just look right here. Look at Rhode Island, where medical personnel are declared that you must participate, recommend and refer children in gender dysphoria — a disorder of mind that we have addressed through processes of maturation in the past — you must commend and refer these children and participate in the recommendations of children to be mutilated chemically and surgically that will scar them for the rest of their life.

And parents who oppose their children’s request, that’s not a decision the state is going to allow you to make — this is a decision we are going to make and we will facilitate these therapies and mutilations of the child.

TOM LAMPRECHT: And Dr. Michelle Cretella, who is the president of The American College of Pediatricians, has come out very, very sternly and said, “This is child abuse.”

DR. REEDER: And it will lead to what we see in England, which is infanticide of children who cannot speak for themselves by not allowing their parents to speak for them and the state declaring its sovereignty and its definitions of lives worth saving and keeping.

TAKE NOTE THAT FREE HEALTHCARE IS OBVIOUSLY NOT FREE

This is another piece of evidence that people are finding out — what is declared as free healthcare is not very free. It not only costs you through the increasing taxes, but it also costs you in terms of your freedom to make decisions for healthcare in the life of your children.

What do you do now? Well, take full advantage of the opportunities you have to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, who has declared, “I will be a God to you and to your children after you.” Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, “You shall be saved; you and your household. For the promises for you and your children and for all who are far off, even as many who shall call upon the Lord to be saved.”

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.

Randa Jarrar and free speech

(R. Jarrar/Vimeo)

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PROFESSOR MALIGNS BARBARA BUSH ON TWITTER WITH NO CONSEQUENCES

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, we spent some time remembering Barbara Bush and her passing and the Bush family. When we were doing that program, you said that now was not the time to critique her life. We’ll leave that for the biographers later down the road. When we were doing that program, it was the time to remember her, embrace the family and pray for the family.

However, there was one individual out of Fresno State University, a professor who didn’t take your advice. She went to Twitter and she said some rather vile things that I’m not going to repeat here but I’m sure many of our listeners have heard about these in the news. But, as a professor of Fresno State University, not only did she say these vile things, but she also bragged about the fact that she had tenure at this university and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

“I’m making $100,000.00 a year,” she said, “I will never be fired. I will always have people wanting to hear what I have to say.”

DO EMPLOYERS HAVE RIGHT TO CURTAIL SPEECH?

DR. REEDER: And, of course, her president of the university said hey, this is a matter of free speech, and I affirm that, by the way. I think the president is right. Now, the president has the full authority to determine employment boundaries on speech and what is appropriate and that’s obvious because that’s why she immediately affirmed her tenure, saying, whatever your boundaries are, anything you create now cannot affect my employment because of my tenure. Now, boundaries previously established could — that’s getting in the weeds on tenure.

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However, there’s a couple of things that come up from this and one is the freedom of speech does not mean we affirm their speech, but we affirm their freedom of speech but, secondly, we also affirm that employment can be conditioned on the content of your speech so it is absolutely appropriate, when you employ someone, to have standards of conduct, including speech that is acceptable and unacceptable.

Another side issue to this, this is why I don’t believe in tenure. In fact, every good teacher I’ve ever met is not a big supporter of tenure and the reason why is, one, they have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, but they also recognize that the university has a right to determine the extent of speech in their classroom and then, three, they know, I don’t need tenure. Good teachers are always desired. You don’t need tenure to keep your job; you just need to do a good job.

AS CHRISTIANS, HOW SHOULD WE TEMPER OUR SPEECH, BUT NOT OUR MESSAGE?

Tom, whenever I hear this kind of ugly and destructive discourse in public, I’m immediately challenged, first of all, as a Gospel minister and, secondly, as a Christian. I’m so grateful I have the freedom to share the Gospel in public arenas, but I also understand, when I’m on someone’s podium, they can determine what they want spoken on that podium or not — they have that freedom as well.

We know that this program is devoted to analyzing events from a Christian world and life view, propose this analysis to the listeners and then provide Gospel decisions to it. We know that people have the freedom to cut it off or ignore it or challenge it. That’s perfectly appropriate.

However, what about when we speak in public and how we speak in public? Well, for me as a Gospel minister, I’ve recently been challenged on this. There are many podiums I’ve gone to surrounded by people and symbols that I would not want to be identified with but, just like the apostle Paul was surrounded by all of those idols at Athens, he went to the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart and the only solution to the heart is the reconciling power of the Gospel but you have to determine how are you going to say it.

IS THE GOSPEL OFFENSIVE?

The Gospel is offensive to the natural mind, but does that mean we have to be offensive in the way we talk? The content of what I say may be offensive in the Gospel because nobody wants to be told they’re a sinner in need of repentance and reconciliation to God. Nobody wants to be told those things unless the Lord is working in their heart.

I love the picture of Jesus the sower — He’ll go all over the field to sow the seed. He is willing to be called names, not so veiled names, when He sits down to eat with prostitutes and tax gatherers. They’re making innuendo about why would He be sitting with prostitutes because he is seen sitting with prostitutes, which he has to do if He’s going to share the Gospel with prostitutes.

The apostle Paul, where he’ll actually use quotes from the philosophers he’s confronting at Mars Hill in order to bring them to repentance and he goes after the issue of their heart. I also noticed that, no matter what the case, that there is non-discriminating casting of the Gospel wherever they go. And you know the message is going to be offensive, but you also note that they don’t personally try to be offensive. The only time we see the stiffening of their language is when they challenge those who would condemn what they do when they go to people who need to hear the Gospel.

TREATING OTHERS WITH DIGNITY HELPS THE GOSPEL HAVE POWER

The question for me is never where will I speak — I will speak anywhere I have the opportunity — the question is really what do you speak and how do you speak? And I know the Gospel is scandalous but I try to tell myself, “Don’t be scandalous. Try to treat every person with dignity.”

Whether I am in an LGBTQ forum surrounded by their symbols or recently when I spoke to a historical event surrounded by symbols and others, I try to keep the main thing the main thing: identify sin, here’s the solution, the Savior, and here’s what the Savior will do in your heart and from your heart into your relationships in life so that the culture can be changed all around us. And know this, that every time you share the Gospel, you’re planting Gospel seeds that may not bear fruit then but may bear fruit later.

Secondly, always know this: When people do come to Christ through the proclamation of the Gospel, there’s a party in Heaven — angels rejoice — and it doesn’t matter whether the person that is saved was promoting and practicing sexual immorality, or whether they were racist or whatever because every time they’re saved, angels rejoice. It’s only the elder brothers of self-righteousness that question it.

CONVERSIONS BRING JOY IN HEAVEN AND HOLINESS TO SOCIETY

And also know this: that, while there’s rejoicing in Heaven, there is also the blessing of the landscape of culture that is gradually changed through the changing of people so that, as I’ve recently said, a culture of repentance and reconciliation can replace the culture of chaos and destruction.

Oh, I long for the new heavens and the new earth where we don’t have to deal with the consequences of sin any longer and where the victory over our sin will be in consummation and completion when Jesus comes again. So, I just end this program, come quickly, Jesus, but until You come, help us — unlike this example in Fresno State — help us to speak truth freely, courageously, but thoughtfully in the public square and please bear fruit for your glory and the salvation of others.

ALFIE EVANS: AN ALARMING EXAMPLE OF WHAT STATE OVERREACH IS TO COME?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to Liverpool, England, where the parents of another toddler, this time Alfie Evans, are being told, “You cannot take your son to another hospital in another country for further treatment.”

DR. REEDER: So, Tom, just as we have had to address what is the right use of the right of free speech and how, as Christians, we need to take advantage of it, here is another right, natural right, that is foundational to a culture and that is the supremacy of the rights of parents to take care of their children, now superseded by the state. Are there times that this should happen? Yes. But is this the time that it should happen and is this time in England — and, by the way, perhaps in the United States as we see tomorrow — is this time revealing that, instead of a state in an extraordinary moment having to step in for the benefit of the child, is this an example of state overreach beyond the parent, not for the benefit of the child but for the benefit of the state and its financial resources?

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.

Sen. Booker’s grilling of Pompeo prime example of ‘religious test’ to exclude evangelical Christians from office

(Wikicommons)

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CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON  POMPEO TURNS SOUR AND PERSONAL

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to an article that a number of media outlets covered. This particular article is out of The Washington Examiner, going back and taking a look at Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be the Secretary of State. As we’re recording this, he was just approved by the committee and will now go to the full Senate for their vote.

It appears that the approval of Mike Pompeo will go forward, but let’s go back to when the hearing was actually taking place in the committee. There was one particular line of questioning that many people say was way over the line and way out of place. It was when Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey was questioning Mike Pompeo and he asked him his views on homosexuality and was it a perversion.

DR. REEDER: Yeah, he said something like: You have stated that you oppose same-sex marriage and you’ve stated that sexual activity among same-sex couples is a ‘perversion.’ Mike Pompeo basically said in return: My record speaks for itself in terms of how I treat people and what are my stances on ethics and they remain unchanged. I believe marriage is one man and one woman. I believe that sexuality belongs within marriage.

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Senator Booker immediately went to the matter of his sanctity of life position as well. Some do not know this, but Mike Pompeo is a professed Christian. He’s an Evangelical Christian and he actually participates in a conservative Presbyterian church that is well-known for its being faithful to the Word of God, its preaching ministry and its discipling ministry.

And he reflects the thoughtfulness of that church’s ministry as well as the sincerity and singularity of his commitment to Christ. Mike Pompeo, recently we talked about his foray as a secret envoy over to North Korea and, through his labors, these recent talks have developed. He is well-known, well-liked, well-loved and very effective and seems to have the ear of President Trump.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER GRILLS POMPEO ON HIS FAITH

However, he certainly doesn’t have the ear of Senator Booker, the senator from New Jersey. These were not only questions that I’m sure he sincerely holds, but they were also questions that gave signals to his base of where he is and where they could expect him to be as brought direct focus upon Mike Pompeo’s sanctity of life, sanctity of sexuality and sanctity of marriage positions.

Mike Pompeo made it very clear that he has never made any public statements to change the Roe v. Wade interpretation and “law of the land” but he has stated his position on the sanctity of life. He also has run entire departments for the federal government. As most of us know, his leadership in the CIA stands paramount in terms of how he treats people with respect and dignity, which he assured Senator Booker: My positions on ethics does not prevent — on the contrary, it undergirds — my desire to treat each and every person with dignity, and honor and respect, which I have done and which I would continue to do.

Mr. Booker makes it very clear and he basically said — I’m a Christian and you’re a Christian — it’s just that I believe in ‘Love thy neighbor,’ and I believe love thy neighbor is everyone.

Well, what’s behind that statement from a Christian world and life view? There are two things behind that statement from a Christian world and life view we need to see. No. 1 is that Mr. Booker’s view of ‘Love thy neighbor’ is that you love all your neighbor’s behavior.

YOU CAN LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR BUT NOT SUPPORT THEIR ACTIONS

Recently, I had the chance to speak to an organization in which I called them to the matter of repentance and reconciliation and I loved those people made in the image of God. When you love somebody, that doesn’t mean you accept their behavior — that means you address their behavior.

And there’s such a thing as right behavior and wrong behavior and, if there’s wrong behavior, then that needs to be identified and challenged. That doesn’t mean you don’t love the person. Anybody who’s been through Parenting 101 knows you love your children but you don’t love their behavior. You accept your children but, to accept your children, you don’t have to accept their behavior.

What Senator Booker has now declared is that, if you love your neighbor, then you have to love the behavior of your neighbor. Then his further conclusion is, if you don’t love their behavior and accept their behavior, then you can’t love them and fight for their constitutional rights.

Well, the fact is that the inalienable rights of God belong to everyone and Mr. Pompeo said that he would observe that he would honor them as made in the image of God, but that does not mean that you have to embrace their behavior. And, if you don’t embrace your behavior, that does not mean you don’t love them. On the contrary, it can be the greatest evidence of your love for them.

NOW IT’S FAIR GAME TO DECLARE BIBLICAL CHRISTIANS UNFIT TO LEAD?

Senator Booker has made the declaration — and all who agree with him — that Biblical, faithful Christians who believe in the fifth commandment, the sixth commandment and who believe in the seventh commandment — in other words, those who believe in Biblical marriage and Biblical sexuality are now unapproved by Senator Booker and his cohorts.

You are not qualified, as an Evangelical Christian holding to Evangelical ethics of marriage and family and sexuality and you’re no longer invited, you are no longer allowed, you are no longer declared fit to lead in the government of the United States of America.

And then the third and final thing I want to mention in this is that he has committed what I think is an egregious violation of the law in that it is abundantly clear that there is to be no religious test and he has already declared his religious test. He says, basically, well, you’re a Christian and you don’t believe in same-sex marriage; I’m a Christian and I believe in ‘Love thy neighbor.’ My version of Christianity will be accepted so I am questioning you on your version of Christianity which includes sexual ethics and marital ordinances.

CLEARLY, CONGRESS NOW GIVES RELIGIOUS TESTS THAT EVANGELICALS WILL FAIL

And, therefore, he is now applying a religious test and he makes it clear — Anyone who holds your position as a Christian, I cannot vote for. That’s a religious test that has declared his vote. And so those are the three things that come out with amazing clarity in this exchange between Senator Booker and Mike Pompeo.

Now, with unabashed transparency, our Senate is now applying a religious test and the religious test targets consistent Evangelical Christians who believe in the rule of the Ten Commandments in their life as to life, as to marriage, as to family and as to sexuality. And they are now being declared, with that religious test, unwanted and unqualified to serve in the government of the United States.

They’ve just outlawed and removed many of our greatest presidents such as Washington and Lincoln and others, they have outlawed many of our greatest leaders who were profound Evangelical Christians and they have outlawed the most influential in the founding of this country and who believed in life and liberty and did not believe that liberty was anarchy, but it was rule of law and that law declared some things right and some things wrong.

POMPEO, A COURAGEOUS MAN OF SUBSTANCE

Those things that are right and wrong need to be identified and upheld and Mike Pompeo believes that every life is to have the liberty of protection. He believes that every marriage is one man and one woman committed for one life and that alone will suffice the very definition of a monogamous, heterosexual, conjugal relationship within the covenant of marriage.

Again, Tom, we’re back where we were even yesterday, aren’t we? There’s going to be no place to hide. I would like to thank Mike Pompeo for not hiding. And I am grateful that, even though it was close, there was an 11-9 vote that moves his nomination forward.

Now I am praying that the Senate will do its correct job and give us this man who seems to be highly qualified and who treats all people fairly but understands that there are ethical boundaries in life by which he’ll conduct his life and by which he will promote that which is good, and that which is true and that which is beautiful in our culture.

And I look forward to seeing how his leadership as Secretary of State might benefit the president whom, in light of my concerns for the president, I keep praying to allow people of substance around him and Mike Pompeo is certainly a man of great substance, competence and character as far as I can see in every respect.

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.

 

Proposed California law will lead to persecution of Christians, possible outlawing of Bible sales

(Pixabay)

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PROPOSED CA BILL WOULD MAKE SEXUAL ORIENTATION COUNSELING AND BOOKS ILLEGAL

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an article by David French, who writes for The National Review. He’s writing on a state bill out of California, AB2943. This is a bill that purports to declare sexual orientation change efforts to be an unlawful business practice.

Harry, in other words, if you are a counselor or a minister or, for that matter, if you’re a bookseller and if any of your Christian books on counseling were to somehow directly or indirectly encourage people to follow the Biblical mandates on marriage, it could be deemed illegal in California.

DR. REEDER: This bill now puts in jeopardy and under the crosshairs and the power of the state of California, financially and even with criminal charges — to declare consumer fraud on anyone who purports to declare the need or the ability to help people deal with their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual that calls them to repentance and anything that you sell or any goods that you provide.

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And now, on the floor of the assembly, as the article references, this bill and its broad application would include ministers. Ministers receive salaries and they are declaring that, if they’re preaching from God’s Word, for instance, 2 Corinthians 6: 6-10, which declares that, “Effeminate, homosexuals, drunkards, murderers, etc. etc., will not enter the kingdom and such were some of you.”

In other words, the offer that God not only forgives us of our sexual sins and addictions as well as other sins against us and all sin against us if we will put our trust in Christ alone and that, not only will He forgive, He will change us so that the promiscuous no longer have to be promiscuous.

NO LAW CAN CHANGE THAT GOD CALLS SEXUAL SINNERS TO REPENTANCE

No matter what you declare as your bent and your desire, you can, by the power of God through the grace of God, bring your sexuality to bear within its proper arena of blessing from the Lord as a gift and that’s within marriage.

Also, unnatural sex, which would include same-sex — whether a state makes a marriage compact or not, the Bible’s very clear. In fact, the Bible says that, if a man preaching from the Bible is going to say, “This is God’s will for you that you flee sexual immorality.” That presupposes you can flee, that presupposes you can change and that presupposes you can repent by the power of God’s grace and that there is something in need of repenting.

Therefore, not only would the books that say that and the counseling services that are offered with financial remuneration, now declared as subject to charges of consumer fraud, but that would clearly extend itself to pastors who are supported by their congregation and that would mean the Bible.

COULD THE BIBLE BE BANNED FROM SALE AND PREACHING?

The Bible says that sexual sins are sins and that’s any sexual activity outside of the boundaries of marriage between a man and a woman. The First Amendment gives us the freedom to preach that and disciple our people. And not only should books in the free practice of religion that is faithful to the Biblical orthodox historic view be allowed to be published in the state of California and any other state and the sermons that would call people to repentance and offer them the hope of the Gospel that you can change by God’s grace — not only would the books provide a chargeable offense, the preachers and the counselors provide chargeable offenses against them in this law.

And this was acknowledged in the debate but they pressed on with an overwhelming vote. It was even further affirmed that the Bible, itself, would fall into this category of a book that would not be allowed to be put up for selling if someone wanted to press the case. If you can ban the book that’s written from the Bible, why not ban the Bible which says the same thing?

And, if this piece of legislation is allowed to stand, then it would become grounds to bring convictions, not only against counselors and Christian bookstores who carry books on sexual purity, but conferences that would be advertised to come and deal with the matters of sexual purity. And not only conferences, but actual worship services when the preacher is preaching on texts that declare “You shall not commit adultery” and that commandment calls us to the repentance of all sexual sins.

Nor are we going to conform to the teachings of the Church to the dictates of the California state legislature with its sexual revolution affirmation, zeal, and agenda that it is promoting with bill after bill that is coming out.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR BILL AND LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES?

Now this one heads to the Senate but the Senate is firmly in the hands of the Democratic Party from which this bill had originated so I fully expected it to get affirmed in the Senate. Now, what happens in the eventual and, I would think, inevitable appeal to the Supreme Court? Every believer’s hope that there will be an upholding of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights for the free practice of religion that addresses the sanity of the Bible’s teaching concerning gender orientation, sexual orientation, sexual practice and the sanctity of marriage.

This is another evidence that the sexual revolution, in general, and now certain states are not looking for any matter of toleration, “Live and let live,” and, “You’ve got a position that you’re able to promote in terms of sexual purity and sexual morality as a Christian. We’ve got our own neopagan view of sexuality that we believe needs to be affirmed.” What is now being said, “If you don’t celebrate, teach and affirm our position and if you teach anything opposite of it, we are now going to bring the full weight of the state to bear upon you.”

DO BELIEFS EVOLVE OR DO PEOPLE LET THEIR FAITH DEVOLVE?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, so often when you see these kinds of bills pass, up until now, there’s usually a carve-out for religious organizations and faith-based groups. However, as one assembly member, Al Muratsuchi, declared, “It’s time for the faith community to evolve with the times.”

DR. REEDER: That’s right and we’ve heard it before. We heard President Obama say he had evolved in his position. We heard Mrs. Clinton say the same thing as she was running for president, that she had also evolved into the acceptance of same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

Well, first of all, as you know, I do not believe that is evolving — I believe that is devolving. That is a movement back into the pagan practices of sexuality that when the Gospel came to our barbarian ancestors it freed them from that and brought into a culture the foundational blessing of marriage, and then the foundational institution of the family, and then, of course, the blessing of sexuality within the boundaries of marriage and then the identification of those things that would be unlawful sexually such as sexual relationships from adults to children, sexual relationships of same-sex, adulterous relationships outside of marriage.

That brought sanity and stability to our culture. Tom, what is obvious now is the unraveling of culture with the chaos of the sexual revolution. The only voices that are going to be raised against the sexual revolution are those faithful to Biblical orthodoxy on the matters of marriage and sexuality. We put them literally under the gun of financial ruin or the gun of criminal charges if you promote or produce any services or any books in transaction that involves any sale or any contract that calls for the necessity and offers the possibility of sexual orientation repentance and change and transformation.” This means the Bible, itself, and this means pastors, in particular.

Tom, there’s going to be no place to hide. We’re about to find out are we willing to go anywhere and for any cost, stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we will not be silent — we will publish our books, we will have our conferences, we will teach the text of the Bible — and then we will be ready to face the consequences in this nation even though this nation has a Bill of Rights that is supposed to affirm the free exercise of religion.

COMING UP FRIDAY: SENATE HEARINGS BECOME MORE CONTENTIOUS

TOM LAMPRECHT: On tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to the Mike Pompeo hearing. As we record this, Mike Pompeo was just approved out of the Foreign Relations Committee that will be sent to the full Senate, but his hearing was quite partisan and some would say vile.

DR. REEDER: In the space of about a year, we have seen the violation by a senatorial inquisitor. What was that violation of the law? What does it portend for the future, at least from a Christian world and life view?

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.

 

Chaplain who refused marriage retreat to same-sex couple is up against elite culture enforcers

(16th Combat Aviation Brigade/Facebook)

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ARMY CHAPLAIN INVESTIGATED FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE RETREAT

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an article out of The Fayetteville Observer. That’s the local paper in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which is the home of the Fort Bragg Army Base. It is there that a Fort Bragg chaplain, Major J. Scott Squires, is facing a challenge: Does he follow the tenets of his faith or does he follow the Army’s equal opportunity policy?

In this particular case, Squires faces a potentially career-hobbling reprimand after an investigating officer found that he discriminated against an unnamed sergeant who sought to attend a Strong Bonds marriage retreat sponsored by the First Special Warfare Training Group. This sergeant, a female, happens to be married to another female.

DR. REEDER: Yes, it’s a same-sex marriage and they wanted to go on the retreat, Strong Bonds, which is going to address a husband’s role to his wife, a wife’s role to the husband, and then, of course, they’re going to look at the matters of the intimacy relationship within marriage, all of which is impossible in today’s fabricated notion of a same-sex marriage.

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Why do I say fabricated? Let me remind us that the historic definition of marriage, and that which is revealed in the Word of God and that which is affirmed in creation is it’s one man, one woman for one life and, that is, it is a covenantal relationship that is a monogamous, heterosexual, procreative relationship of which the same sex cannot do.

When he establishes a marriage retreat built on the historic Biblical view of marriage, it is clear that the same-sex attendees are not going to be addressed in terms of whatever professed needs that that so-called marriage relationship actually has and so he explained to them that they would not be attending that because it was designed for the Christian view of marriage.

The chaplain is being faithful to his confessional vows and the Army has stated that chaplains are not required to violate their ordination vows, which would include a confessional statement concerning the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of sexuality within marriage. And though the Army may accommodate sex outside of marriage, may accommodate this fabricated view of marriage, the chaplain does not have to.

Well, now the interpretation of the Equal Opportunity Regulations in the Army, a lower echelon investigative officer is now bringing charges against him and this decorated chaplain is about to lose his livelihood and be discharged unless the appeals process vindicates him.

THIS ADMINISTRATION BRINGS HOPE THAT RELIGIOUS LIBERTY WILL BE UPHELD

Now let me just say, up until now, the appeals process has vindicated chaplains when they have attempted to be faithful to their ordination vows in carrying out their assigned oaths and duties as officers and chaplains in the armed forces. It has particularly been noteworthy that they have been affirmed on all of these areas of debate such as transgender, same-sex marriages — particularly under this administration — but there are cultural elite who are in the Army like everyone else who want to focus the army as a social instrument to promote the new definitions of marriage and sexuality and the Army would be used to propagate that. They exist within the Army within the bureaucracy of the Army and at various officer levels within the Army. That is what Chaplain Squires is now facing.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Do you think that the precedent of these previous situations where chaplains have been upheld, will that carry today in this particular case?

DR. REEDER: Tom, I think it will. I’m praying it will. I believe it will. If we were in the previous administration, I don’t think so, but I think the people who have been appointed by this administration will affirm the affirmed liberties of chaplains to be faithful to their confessional vows and not have to violate them in areas of life and faith such as marriage and sexuality, Tom. I think that’ll happen.

DOES THIS DERAIL THE MISSION OF THE ARMY, ITSELF?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we haven’t even talked about the fact that, when you bring in a situation like this, it has serious ramifications on the effectiveness of the armed services.

DR. REEDER: The armed services has always rightly been a leveling place. There’s a reason why, when you get off the bus at Parris Island, they take you into a place and shave your hair: all these ways that we used to declare our uniqueness are pretty well wiped out when you go into the Army. You are individual parts of a cohesive unit and that unit is designed to carry out violence against those who would seek to destroy the nation or the citizens of the nation.

On the one hand, it ought to be a place where our Declaration of Independence is constantly seen that all men — “male and female” — are created equal in terms of rights, but it is not a place to experiment with a cultural notion that equality is interchangeability and that there’s no difference between a man or a woman. There is a difference between a man and a woman in light of their biological makeup, their DNA, and how they think, and how they live and how they function. That’s not a matter of superiority and inferiority or of oppression or servitude — that’s a matter of difference and it ought to be taken advantage of.

MALES AND FEMALES STRENGTHEN THE ARMY, BUT ARE NOT UNIVERSALLY INTERCHANGEABLE

There’s certain ways in which male and female leadership are absolutely overlapping and identical, but there are other ways that women bring something to leadership men can’t do and there’s another thing that men bring to leadership that women can’t do and that’s not a matter of inferiority or superiority — that’s just difference.

The Army has historically said, “Our end is not to rewrite creation and declare that everybody is interchangeable. Our end is to treat everyone with dignity, but then to realize there are certain parameters of conduct.”

And that’s why it was a death knell of officers in terms of sexual activity outside of marriage. Adultery would get you dismissed because it broke down cohesion in the military, it broke down authority, it broke down respectability, it broke down the trust factor — all of that would have been broken by adultery and we’ve recognized the value of marriage.

UNFORTUNATELY, THE ARMY IS NOW A TOOL FOR ACHIEVING AGENDA

However, now there are those who would take the military and use it as an instrument to rewrite the mores of a culture instead of affirm the Constitutional rights and the way they ought to be applied within the Army and maintain the mission of the Army. The mission of the Army is to be an instrument of violence in order to protect against those who would do violence against a country and its citizens and it is only used under the authority of the Constitution — its delegated authority to the president as commander-in-chief and then its affirmed authority if a war is ever to be brought upon a nation through an act of Congress.

Therefore, we need commanders who are focused upon the mission of the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. They’re focused upon the mission to make these units cohesive while protecting constitutional rights for each of its participants yet staying on the mission.

STRIVE TO STAY FOCUSED ON THE MISSION

This is another example, whether it’s the church, the state, the family, an army, a business — you’ve got to keep the main thing the main thing. What is happening is the armed forces have been seen as an instrument to marginalize Christianity, to rewrite society, to eradicate the differences between male and female and, the cultural elite, who have now worked their way into certain positions of the bureaucracy and command structure of our military services and here is just one incident.

And we’re going to see: will the Constitution prevail; the First Amendment prevail and will the mission of the Army be maintained? And that mission is to be a cohesive, well-trained unit to defend the citizens of this country in times of aggression.

THE CHURCH “ARMY” HAS A MISSION, TOO

Tom, whenever I think about that, I also think about how the Lord calls the church of Jesus, except our weapons are not for death — our weapons are for life. And we need cohesion where every person in the church of Christ is treated with dignity and the uniqueness that each Christian has a very special gift. Our weapons are the divinely fashioned weapons of the proclamation of the Word, prayer, fellowship and the love of Christ displayed to one another and to the lost who do not yet know Christ as we seek them out to tell them of the Savior.

I love being in this Army. Let’s take captive the souls of men that they might be set free from the bondage of sin.

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 should Christians think about Trump’s North Korea stance?

(President Donald J. Trump/Facebook)

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TRUMP’S TAKE ON NORTH KOREA

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last Wednesday evening around 6:15, President Donald Trump along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan held a press conference. They talked about a number of different things, including trade, but the primary focus of that press conference was North Korea. It was also revealed just before that press conference that CIA director, Mike Pompeo, who is the nominee for the Secretary of State, met secretly with Kim Jong Un over the Easter weekend. 

The whole coming together of this summit between Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, has taken a lot of twists and turns. What’s your take on all this?   

DR. REEDER: Tom, I think that what we’ve got here, in the populist appeal of President Donald Trump to the reaction of overreach in the previous administration of governmental authority and power and its cultural agenda, it seems as if there’s this profane conduct, instead of a turnoff, an appeal to a significant segment of the voting population and his unabashed sentiment that — Look, I’m a businessman. I know the art of the deal. I’ll make the deal and it’s not going to be business as usual from the unproductive tactics of our politicians, ‘the accepted practices of statecraft.’

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And I think people elected him with that in mind and now he’s doing it. It’s very befuddling to the media because, whether this is directly by the book — his book, The Art of the Deal — or he is just showing you the intuition of his approach to being a businessman, you can see him doing things that they say — That is unbecoming of a president. He shouldn’t do that with these tweets, and statements, and interviews and derogatory statements.

WHY DOES THIS DRAW SO MUCH IRE FROM THE MEDIA?

And so, they ridicule him for that, which seems to be his way to put the other person on their heels. On the backside, he is sending secret envoys such as the previously unknown and secretive trip that Michael Pompeo made to talk with him, from which we now get this “possible summit” and now the media criticizes him because these trips set this up were not publicly done in the manner in which summits are usually arranged.

The third thing he’s said is this — Well, listen, you need to know, respectively, I’ll walk away from the table if we’re not getting any progress. If you’re not willing to walk away, you’re not going to be able to accomplish it and he is letting them know — Hey, respectfully, but I’ll walk away unless we get… — and he names the progress he wants in denuclearization, not just a treaty, but actual denuclearization.

TOM LAMPRECHT: When he says he will walk away from the table, he’ll either not go to the negotiations if it’s not going in the right direction or he’ll get up and leave. Is that a message to North Korea or to the media?

DR. REEDER: I believe “respectfully” was for the media, to tell them — Hey, I’m not going back to Tactic 1 — which is to put them on their heels with insults and name-calling. I think it was also a message to the president of North Korea, this dictator, that is — You’re not going to dictate this. I am now dictating the fact that it won’t continue unless we get the desired result.

HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN POLITICIAN NEGOTIATE CHARITABLY?

Tom, from a Christian world and life view, I want to make sure with no ambiguity that a Christian — whether it’s business, politics, relationships or whatever — must always say the truth, say what they mean, mean what they say and never be mean when they say it.

That doesn’t mean you can’t say tough things, but it says you never say even tough things meanly. If I go to someone who is entrapped in sin, I want to identify the sin and I may have to say some tough things, but it’s going to be clear I’m going to speak the truth in love and I’m going to love with the truth.

And I think that should carry over into every arena of life, that we treat people made in the image of God with dignity and their positions that they hold with dignity because I also reject, as a Christian, any form of pragmatism that the end justifies the means. I believe the means will always, ultimately, determine the end.

ADDRESSING AND FREEING THE AMERICANS HELD CAPTIVE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, you mentioned earlier three Americans being held captive in North Korea. I don’t want to end today’s Today in Perspective without bringing up our brother in Christ, Andrew Brunson, who was a pastor out of Black Mountain, North Carolina.

There was a hearing held on Andrew Brunson over in the country of Turkey where he’s being held captive. He was actually sent back from that hearing to a more notorious prison in Turkey. He was accused of terrorism because of evangelism.

DR. REEDER: We have a committee on the persecuted church under our missions committee. This has been an area of focus. In fact, even as we speak, I am going to be reading a letter from Andrew Brunson and I’d like for you to read it in just a moment so that people can get a personal sense of it as well as his commitment to Christ as a believer and as a pastor.

Here is a man that is just unbelievably faithful. He has spent years in Turkey. He has a heart for the people in Turkey. And, Tom, he not only has a heart for the people in Turkey, he is willing to endure for the people in Turkey.

Tom, he pastors a church of 25 people. Here is a Southern Baptist pastor — he’s one of our brothers in ministry in a sister denomination, the Southern Baptist — faithful to the Word of God, loves the Lord, loves the people and loves where he has been called as a pastor.

And he tries to do, as Paul told Timothy, “the work of an evangelist”. Therefore, as he shared his faith, they arrested him– in this “secular” Islamic nation, they arrested him — they put him in prison, they have given him a trial and, in that trial, have declared evangelism as a terrorist act. And, therefore, they have moved him from that prison to a what they call “intense” prison. We would call it something like maximum security, but it’s a no-holds-barred incarceration. I can’t imagine what he’s going through — obviously, I want to pray for him but I don’t want to even dwell on it. He longs to be with his wife and back to his church, but, Tom, he has made it abundantly clear that he will be faithful to Christ in life and in death.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Let me read that letter:

Let it be clear, I’m in prison, not for anything I’ve done wrong, but for who I am, a Christian pastor. I desperately miss my wife and children, yet I believe this to be true: it is an honor to suffer for Jesus Christ as many have done before me. I know that God’s grace is sustaining me even when I do not feel that grace and I know that the prayers of God’s people are surrounding me and giving strength.

One of my big fears has been that I will be forgotten in prison. Thank you for not forgetting. It reminds me that I’m not alone and that I need to stand firm with my face pointed in God’s direction always. To the extent that I am known, I want to be known as a servant and lover of Jesus Christ.

I have prayed for this land and its people for many years for God to pour out great blessing. In my weakness, I pray daily for strength and courage to persevere and remain faithful to my king until the end. My deepest thanks to my family around the world that are standing with me and praying for me.

DR. REEDER: So, Tom, let’s end by making a personal appeal to all who listen to this program and then anyone you’d like to share this program with. No. 1, we will not forget Pastor Andrew Brunson. That means, No. 2, we will be in prayer for him.

Thirdly and finally, a word of warning: what he is going through here, Christian ministers may one day go through here, for we are always just a generation away from the movement of the Gospel to another area of the globe if we don’t apply the wonderful, glorious gospel in life and in ministry through faithful church and faithful Christians in our own country. Having said that, now pray for Pastor Brunson. May the Lord deliver him and may He deliver sinners in that nation and around the world through his witness.

COMING UP TOMORROW: ARMY CHAPLAIN DISCIPLINED — VIOLATION OF HIS RELIGIOUS RIGHTS?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Wednesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A Fort Bragg chaplain is facing a disciplinary action — does he follow the tenets of his faith or does he follow the Army’s equal opportunity policy?

DR. REEDER: And here are the first steps of the persecution that I just warned about. Here is a faithful minister being faithful to his Army regulations, faithful to his confession of faith, faithful to his Bill of Rights liberties, and yet his livelihood is about to be taken away from him, this decorated chaplain.

Why? Because of his faithfulness and his embrace of his first liberty as found in the Bill of Rights and faithfulness in ministry there in the Army. We’ll look at the particulars of that and what is happening in this targeting, not of his life as Andrew Brunson, but of his livelihood which is usually the first step of an authoritarian persecution in any nation.

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.

Barbara Bush and the unique legacies First Ladies leave

(White House)

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THE DEATH OF BARBARA BUSH & REFLECTION ON ROLE OF FIRST LADY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, over the weekend, Barbara Bush, only the second woman in our nation’s history to be a president’s wife and a president’s mother, she was laid to rest outside of Houston at the George H. W. Bush Library.  

DR. REEDER: Yes, Tom, she’s a very interesting lady and it also brings up an interesting observation. Because our culture has, up until the recent fabricated rulings of Obergefell concerning what is marriage, has always honored the fact that marriage is a foundational institution in the culture that was established by the Creator as one man, one woman, for one life and that that was a foundational issue.

Therefore, we have long been grateful and elected presidents who were married. And the one that they married affected the election, not because you were trying to elect two-for-one or because the position of First Lady was actually an office in the Constitution, but everyone just recognized that, when you elect the one, that you get the marriage partner because the two have become one.

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And then First Ladies have carved out their own ministry all the way through Martha Dandridge Washington, the wife of our first president, George Washington, then it was taken to another whole level in the aggressive and independent dynamics and outspoken statements of an Abigail Adams, wife of our second president.

As you move through, our presidents’ wives have all carved out their own space, but there was already an anticipated activity and respect accorded to them in context of their complementarian relationship, that is, they completed their husband — that their husband was not all that he could be or should be without them.

FIRST LADIES LEFT UNIQUE AND VARIED LEGACIES

And then they’ve all had their own commitments, their own emphases, and it’s really been interesting to watch them. Pat Nixon, who was very much in the background — refused to be seen and highly sophisticated and thoughtful but never verbal, never out front — to the aggressive commitment to Equal Rights Amendment by Betty Ford.

I’m just looking at my lifetime experiences and, of course, before I was born was FDR’s wife, Eleanor, who clearly disagreed with her husband and let everyone know about it and, in fact, did not live in Washington like Martha Washington, who would stay back home quite a bit in watching over the farm and the plantation, so Eleonor Roosevelt would spend extensive stays away from the White House.

You had Mrs. Kennedy, who carved out her own, quite the object of not only curiosity but esteem and compliments with her sophisticated, thoughtful and warm personality that was on public display. You remember the famous statement of President Kennedy after he had returned from the trip to Europe and, particularly, to her family ancestral home of France and said, “I am the guy that accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy on her triumphal tour of France.”

The notable manner in which Michelle Obama conducted herself and also her burdens for children’s literacy. Mrs. Clinton came in and saw herself much more in an elected position and tried to become a policy maker with the failed attempt, at that time, of a national healthcare policy. And now it remains to be seen how President Trump’s wife, Melania will ultimately… You can see her feeling her way through this and, being a naturalized citizen, of course, she is trying to gain the sensibilities of it.

WHAT LEGACY DOES BARBARA BUSH LEAVE BEHIND?

Now, Mrs. Bush was her own woman. She was a strong woman; she was a powerful woman; she is the archetype of the “Republican President Woman” in terms of myth and fact in that, somewhat on the liberal side like a Betty Ford on some of her views, but on the other side was a woman of doing things right. You can see somewhat the patrician New England dynamic in her life and in her marriage.

And it was notable that, when you went to eat with her — I quote one visitor — you ate before you went because food would be sparse on the plate as it was bad manners to fill up a plate with food so you ate like a bird and if you wanted to be a vulture, you better have eaten before you got there. Everyone was supposed to be mannerable and etiquette was everything.

FAITH EVIDENT TO THE NATION

And then you see the religious movement in her life. I listened to the interview where she said, “I have no fear of death because I have a great God.” It was notable that President George Bush has given a number of incidents where they have had theological discussions and the fact that he believes his dad and his mom had made a commitment to Christ and they had been drastically affected by the life and ministry of Billy Graham, so much so that they actually, in a sense, had him on the speed dial when they would have family theological discussions.

Therefore, I do pray she knows Christ. She cut her own figure in and, in many ways was a wonderful model. Like all of us, we all have our warts and pimples, but I pray for the family now. I would join with them in remembering their mother. Critiques can, of course, be done by biographers later — I want to join with them in remembering her and being grateful.

What I think of her is this: She has handled the death of a child with dignity, she has mothered her daughters well, she has a son who is effective in business, she has a son who has been president and a son who was a governor, to some degree successful in their attempts and admirable in their commitments and overall evaluation. I do believe, very much, that the hand that rocks the cradle controls the world and you can see the effects of her motherhood as well as her demeanor as a wife and completer in the life of her husband and the obvious devotion that they had to each other.

THANK YOU, BUSHES, FOR EXAMPLE OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE

TOM LAMPRECHT: And she and George H.W. Bush set the high-water mark for the number of years married, 72 years. That’s the longest period of any president.

DR. REEDER: And so that is commendable and it’s, of course, something we strive to see: the return of the Biblical, historical definition of marriage, one man, one woman, and that last part for one life. And I’m grateful for their 72-year marriage and her 92-year life here. And I do hope and pray that the power of the Gospel has been seen.

And, as she said, no fear of death, she had a great God and one of the ways we know the greatness of our God is He can save all of us who are sinners from all of our sins through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

TOMORROW: TRUMP MEETING WITH KIM JONG UN AND AMERICAN PASTOR JAILED IN TURKEY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we’re out of time for today. On Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you back to last Wednesday where President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan got together for a press conference. They talked about a number of things, but at the top of the list was North Korea. North Korea has taken citizens from Japan captive and there are three Americans being held at North Korea.

Harry, tomorrow, I would like to discuss the whole North Korean situation and the upcoming summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, but I also want to examine the situation in Turkey where Pastor Andrew Brunson is being held captive because, as the Turkish government says, evangelism is a form of terrorism.

DR. REEDER: Andrew Brunson in prison, under trial and facing some significant possible penalties, including death in Turkey. We need to look at that.

And then the first one you mentioned because not only the announcements concerning North Korea from that meeting with the Japanese prime minister, but, Tom, it’s also been announced that there’s going to be a “quasi-summit” between President Trump and the president or dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. And, also, surprising tactics that have befuddled that we’ll try to give some clarity to as to how that meeting was set up. We need to do some analysis of his not so surprising but yet befuddling to the media unorthodox style and evaluate it from a Christian world and life view.

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.

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.