Pastor Harry Reeder: Liberal ‘Christianity’ is antithetical to Christianity


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TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, let’s go over to Europe today. I want to cover three different stories. The first, out of Reuters, Sweden’s national Evangelical Lutheran church is urging its clergy to stop gendering their Almighty Creator by using terms such as “He” and “Lord.” It’s updated official handbook to reflect the changes, which go into effect May 20th during the Christian holiday of Pentecost.

 

Breitbart News: Poland’s parliament has voted to slowly begin the process of abolishing Sunday shopping to allow workers to spend more time with their families. If the law passes, Poland will start by just allowing Sunday shopping on the first and last Sunday of the month in 2018 according to The Catholic Herald.

 

The third story, out of The Christian Post, as many as 300 people were protesting in northwest France this Sunday against a court’s recent ruling that a giant cross be removed from atop a statue of Pope Saint John Paul the Second.

 

FRANCE RULES TO REMOVE CROSS FROM STATUE

 

DR. REEDER: Let’s start with that one, Tom. It makes me laugh because of its incoherency: So, we’re going to remove a cross atop the Pope’s statue but you’re going to leave the Pope?

 

Well, what is the Pope? Well, he is the head of the largest expression of Christianity in France and throughout Europe and that is the Roman Catholic Church, which is a Christian church. You’re going to leave the statue of the guy that commemorates the leadership of the Christian church but, “By the way, get that cross off the top of it”?

 

These battles over symbols are so, in the one hand, incoherent, and, on the other hand, so revealing. The Bible tells you very quickly, “It is the word of the cross that is a scandal.”

 

Well, if the word of the cross is a scandal, then the symbol of the cross is going to be a scandal and that is something that people utterly, utterly despise, I can promise you. If that was a crescent above a statue, they wouldn’t be saying a single word, but they’re going after that one.

 

And, in fact, part of it was it was offensive to the Muslim immigrants into France. Well, what about the crosses over the churches throughout the city? Is there going to be a law to remove those because they might be offensive?

 

Therefore, you see the incoherence of the secular world and life view and the loss of any sense of a protected right of the free practice of religion in various nations and, now, in France in particular.

 

SWEDEN’S CHURCH AND GENDER PRONOUNS

 

Now, back to the other one in terms of Sweden, the Swedish church is a state church and, on the one hand, the statistics look pretty good because the fact is that everyone born in Sweden, unless they have another religious affiliation, is baptized and so the attendance in Sweden is somewhere around 1 percent of the population to the state church while the membership of Sweden is something like 60 plus percent. Basically, Sweden has long surrendered to liberalism in terms of “Christianity.”

 

The reality is liberalism is not a subset of Christianity – it’s antithetical to Christianity – so I’m glad for its demise once liberalism is embraced. Now, what I’m not glad for is the loss of a church that actually came out of the Reformation. When it came out of existence out of the Reformation, it did not take the step of most reformed churches, which was to disengage from the state – it, like the Church of England, decided to stay connected to the state.

 

And this shows, I think, the wisdom of our founding fathers that the state was to protect the free practice of religion, but the state was not to pick the religion – that the religion was to function in the public square and the people could respond with liberty to where they would worship, what church they would be identified with and their relationship with it, but the state was not to prohibit the free practice of religion, nor was it to coerce people into any one religion, but to protect its free practice. Therefore, you can see the wisdom of our founding fathers.

 

Thus, the state now, with its pressure upon the church, and the cultural pressure upon the church and the fact that the bishop of the Swedish church, Archbishop Jackelen – who, when appointed, made no pretense concerning her embracing of full liberalism in terms of Christianity – now has just taken the step to say, “It really doesn’t matter what God’s Word says and how God reveals Himself.”

 

So, since “Lord” is a patriarchal term and since it is now sinful to be masculine in the secular world, then what we’ll do is remove all masculine pronouns that refer to God. But it’s in the original manuscript, so the original Bible and that’s the way God chose to reveal Himself.

 

Well, that really doesn’t matter, No. 1, because we don’t believe the Bible is authoritative, so we can make it say what we want to.

 

No. 2, the cultural elite does not want us to refer to God as He is revealed Himself, therefore, our allegiance is to the cultural elite.

 

Tom – this is a direct lesson to the evangelical church in America – any time the church wants to be a player in the culture, it will be played by the culture and that is exactly what’s happening. The church speaks to the culture, but we’re not culture players.

 

Here’s what we are: We are on a mission to make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded – and He is with us always, even until the end of the age – and we’re to love our neighbor, even as ourselves as we love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and mind.

 

Here is a church controlled by the state and subservient to the cultural elite and, therefore, it actually vacuums out God’s revealed word, how God has revealed Himself.

 

SUNDAY SHOPPING LAW

 

On the other hand, we’ve got Poland and, in Poland, which has had this constant movement of a Biblical world and life view that keeps creeping into the public square for the benefit of the people on the sanctity of life and on a number of other issues.

 

And now Poland has looked at its people and said, “You know, this notion of maybe taking Sunday off and spending it with personal rest and family, that is more important than our economy, so I’ll tell you what, we’re going to close down the economy in terms of shopping on Sunday,” – they’re not making you got to church – “but we believe that it’s good to take one day aside.”

 

That happens to be found in the account of the creation. “Six days you shall work and one day you shall rest,” and then God codified it in His law.

 

Tom, I really like that one because there was a great awakening in the United States of America before it was the United States of America and, in 1750’s and 1760’s, one of its biggest hotspots was where my family comes from, Mecklenberg County in Charlotte, North Carolina, and there was known as “The Blue Stocking Revival” – called “The Blue Stocking” because it took place among the Presbyterian churches that were there – and they passed what became known as a “Blue Law.”

 

The only commerce that is done and the only things that are open on Sunday are those things of absolute necessity or ministries of mercy. We’re not telling you to go to church – we’re just telling you it’s good for our city to have a day of rest and so we are shutting down except for those things of necessity.

 

There were no traffic jams, there were no malls, there was none of that. The only thing you might do is get in the car and go ride and see some relatives on Sunday afternoon after you had eaten your Sunday lunch.

 

Did everybody go to church? No, it was designed from a Christian world and life view which says, “Whether you’re a believer or not, God made you to work six and rest one so, as a culture, we’re going to embrace a day of rest for the benefit of everyone else.”

 

There are creation laws that are a blessing to our neighbor that we ought to support and that was one of them. I would give anything if God’s people would themselves, embrace the Lord’s Day and embrace the Christian sabbath for its purpose in such a way that it would affect the rest of society.

 

The world, itself, would benefit from shutting everything down except those things that are necessary.

 

I applaud Poland. There may be some things more important than the GNP and one of them is to live as God made you to live, which is rest one day in seven. It’ll be good for you and it’ll be good for your family.

 

Count me as one that says to the Christian church, “It begins with us. If we begin to embrace ‘Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy – set it apart,’ it would affect all of society and, most of all, it would honor the Lord and, through that, the Lord would honor you and bless you.

 

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

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

 
40 mins ago

VIDEO: Gov. Ivey extends mask mandate, lottery could be an option as gambling bill languishes, Merrill backs off ‘no excuse’ absentee balloting and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Did Governor Kay Ivey make the right decision when she extended the mask mandate?

— Is the Alabama Legislature going to look to move forward with the lottery if they can’t get a more comprehensive gambling bill?

— Why did Secretary of State John Merrill support and then retract his support for “no excuse” absentee voting?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by Matt Murphy of Talk 99.5 in Birmingham to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” at Alabama Democratic Party Chairman and State Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) for not following through on his plan to make the party more relevant in Alabama.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

3 hours ago

Mo Brooks: Stopping H.R. 1, amnesty keys to winning in 2022 midterms — ‘Then we will be able to neuter Joe Biden’

FLORENCE — With the third month of the 117th Congress now underway, House Democrats have pushed forward in their efforts to pass H.R. 1, which would impose so-called reforms to the country’s voting system.

Also among the priorities for Democrats, who control the White House, House and Senate, are immigration measures that could include amnesty for illegal aliens.

During an appearance at the Shoals Republican Club on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) panned those efforts and said he hoped to stymie the progress of House Democrats on those two fronts.

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Brooks told those in attendance that if Republicans could prove successful in those efforts, it would set the GOP up for wins in the 2022 midterm elections and hamstring President Joe Biden’s push to promote a left-of-center agenda.

“We’ve got to stop H.R. 1, and we’ve got to stop the amnesty and citizenship that Joe Biden has promised,” he said. “If we do those two things, then we’re going to take back the House in 2022. I hope we will take back the Senate in 2022. And then we will be able to neuter Joe Biden over the next two years if we control the House and Senate and set the stage as well for us taking back the White House in 2024 with whoever our nominee may be.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

5 hours ago

2021 Birmingham Heart Walk goes virtual

COVID-19 has forced many nonprofits to shift gears in their fundraising efforts and the American Heart Association (AHA) is no exception. The AHA’s 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk has been reimagined as a digital experience this year to maintain necessary safety protocols due to the ongoing pandemic.

Through the event design, AHA is striving to get more people moving in Birmingham while continuing to raise life-saving funds and keep participants safe in the process. The Birmingham Heart Walk is Saturday, June 12, from 9-11 a.m. and participants can walk from anywhere.

Leading up to the event, participants are encouraged to track their activity through the “Move More Challenge” using the free Heart Walk activity tracker app that can be downloaded from Apple or Google Play. Once registered, users have 30 days to log minutes, and any activity counts. Top movers and fundraisers will be recognized on Heart Walk day.

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“The American Heart Association holds a special place in my heart,” said Southern Company Vice President of Technology David Coxwho will chair the walk for the second time. “They have done so much for my family and for my daughter, Emily, who was born with multiple congenital heart defects. I’m pleased to partner with this outstanding organization in their efforts help our community connect and stay active as we adapt to this virtual world.”

More than 600,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, and the risks have only been compacted by the pandemic. Among COVID-19 hospitalizations, 40% are heart or stroke patients, so this year, donations from the Heart Walk will help fast-track COVID-19 research and train front-line workers in addition to the many other research projects and resources funded by the AHA.

Fundraising and activities for the Heart Walk are beginning to ramp up as the warmer months approach.

“Now is the time to sign up, lace up and start fundraising for the 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk,” said Hannah Carroll, Heart Challenge director of the Birmingham AHA. “Signing up now ensures you won’t miss any of the fun this year, like Rally Days and our new activity tracker.”

On Feb. 18, Cox hosted a virtual kickoff for business leaders in the Birmingham area who will be fielding teams at this year’s Heart Walk. He encouraged counterparts to begin their fundraising efforts by saying, “We’re here for a reason – to fight for a world of longer, healthier lives.”

To view Emily’s story, click here. To learn more about the 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk or to create a team, click here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

8 hours ago

Schoolyard Roots growing stronger, smarter kids in Alabama

When kids participate in the life of a garden, they see the complete cycle of growing food, cooking and preparing it to eat. School gardens are exciting places for kids to learn basic academic subjects, too.

The Tuscaloosa community came together more than 10 years ago to develop a garden-based learning program called the Druid City Garden project, now called Schoolyard Roots.

Schoolyard Roots employs a full-time teaching staff that provides garden lessons for students, as well as professional development training for teachers. The school gardens provide an outdoor experience rare to many students. They are more likely to make healthy choices and try new foods. Students gain a sense of responsibility, to collaborate and work together as a team.

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“When we see a child’s health and education improve, we know that we’re not only investing in that child’s life today – we’re helping them build a better future,” said Nicole Gelb Dugat, interim executive director. “Schoolyard Roots builds community through food. By increasing access to fresh, locally grown produce, we empower our community to make healthy and sustainable food choices.”

In March 2020, the impact of COVID-19 significantly affected the teaching community. Almost immediately, the Schoolyard Roots team began distributing produce from its gardens directly to local families. By the end of last year, the program had distributed more than 750 pounds of fresh garden vegetables to the community.

“We stewarded our gardens as fresh-air sanctuaries, where children and adults could relax, refocus and reconnect,” said Dugat. “Through it all, we shared vegetables and flowers. We cultivated moments of peace and learned together. We could not have done any of it without our incredible community of supporters.”

They found hope and inspiration in the small miracle of seeds planted by the students. Gardens bring joy, peace and courage in times of struggle. And gardens remind us to have hope for new growth and what is to come.

Schoolyard Roots partners with Tuscaloosa-area elementary schools to bring learning to life through teaching gardens. The nonprofit works in 11 elementary schools across Tuscaloosa County.

Its mission is to build healthy communities through food with the Gardens 2 Schools program.

Gardens support and encourage healthful eating as a key component of children’s physical wellbeing, which can aid their academic and social success, too. The garden is woven through many aspects of a school’s curriculum and adapted for different grade levels.

“The Gardens 2 Schools program cultivates curiosity,” Dugat said. “The program teaches the students how to work together (and) learn self-reliability and compassion.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

9 hours ago

Has Washington’s stimulus measures saved our economy?

Congress is expected to soon pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, the fourth major response to the pandemic. Did these measures save our economy from a protracted recession?

Our initial response might be yes because of last spring’s economic free-fall. The stock market declined 20%. Unemployment jumped from 3.5% in February to 14.8% in April, the highest level since the Great Depression. GDP fell 10% in the second quarter.

The economy stopped collapsing and began regaining ground. The stock market hit new record highs. Unemployment fell to 6.3% in January and inflation-adjusted GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020 was within 2% of the 2019 level. Post hoc ergo prompter hoc, however, is a logical fallacy.

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Macroeconomists disagree over whether government spending can lift an economy out of recession. Keynesians, following John Maynard Keynes’ analysis of the Great Depression, see a role for government stabilization. Austrians in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek argue that government often causes recessions. New classical analysis has blown many holes in Keynesian theories.

Regardless of the efficacy of a fiscal stimulus, our economy may not have faced a recession in 2020. The COVID-19 slump arguably resembled an off-season shutdown in a resort community more than a recession. Except that the pandemic shutdown was unexpected while seasonal closures are planned.

The economy could have been expected to bounce back on its own if the business closure and stay-at-home orders did not last too long. And this seemingly happened during the summer and fall.

How can we assess the stimulus spending? The Payroll Protection Plan and augmented unemployment likely kept some persons employed and softened the financial blow for idled workers. These programs could also be viewed as compensation owed by the government for business closure orders, not a stimulus. Personal saving has risen sharply, so many households’ stimulus checks produced little spending.

Unemployment programs have been beset by fraud. The Foundation for Government Accountability estimates that fraudulent schemes siphoned off $36 billion, more than the $26 billion in unemployment compensation paid out in all of 2019. Do Keynesians think fraud is a fiscal stimulus?

One trillion stimulus dollars were unspent as of January 2021. While some Republicans argued that we should spend this money before approving President Biden’s proposal, the unspent money was in the process of being spent. Still, money not yet spent did not stimulate the economy in 2020.

Proponents of fiscal stimulus warned that the economy would sputter without a fall stimulus. One forecast warned of a five percentage point increase in unemployment and 5% decline in GDP. The House and Senate did not agree on an encore to the CARES Act until December. And yet unemployment fell and GDP grew in the fourth quarter.

Even if some spending helped in 2020, the current stimulus package is almost certainly unnecessary. The Congressional Budget Office was already expecting growth to recover “rapidly,” with GDP surpassing the pre-pandemic level by mid-year and unemployment returning to its prior level by early 2022. For comparison, after the Great Recession unemployment did not reach its 2007 level until 2016.

President Biden’s package includes $500 billion to stabilize state budgets. States operate under balanced budget rules, so revenue declines due to the pandemic would trigger spending cuts potentially slowing the recovery. The $500 billion was based on an 8% decline in state revenues; the Wall Street Journal reports that revenues will be down only 1.6%.

Whatever the verdict on the stimulus spending, it worsened the national debt by about $3 trillion. The long-term debt impact may easily offset any short-term boost to the recovery.

The economic case that government spending can prevent or end a recession is weak. Fortunately, the COVID-19 shutdowns did not trigger a prolonged recession. While we might say, “Better safe than sorry,” the cost of the stimulus will be with us for years to come.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.