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.

 
13 hours ago

A victory in court for school choice

The U.S. Supreme Court recently delivered a “big win” for school choice and religious freedom. School choice enables competition, which economists find generally improves the quality of goods and services. I believe that this result will apply to education, and specifically public schools.

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue involved 2015 legislation allowing tax-deductible contributions for scholarships to private, non-profit schools. The Montana Supreme Court struck down the act in 2018 as an unconstitutional use of public funds for religious purposes, including any school or college controlled by a church. Montana’s constitutional provision is a “Blaine Amendment” dating to the 19th century to prohibit state aid to parochial schools; 37 states, including Alabama, have Blaine Amendments.

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The constitutional issues involved were the First Amendment’s separation of church and state and religious discrimination in government policy. Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion found the Blaine Amendment discriminatory: “A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

The Montana Supreme Court struck down the entire school choice program based on the Blaine Amendment. Although Montana’s legislature could have enacted a scholarship program applying to only non-church private schools, this would have significantly restricted parents’ choice. According to the Institute for Justice, which litigated Espinoza, Blaine Amendments are often used to block school choice. Only a narrow interpretation of Alabama’s provision allowed the Alabama Accountability Act to withstand challenge.

Separation of church and state is wise constitutional doctrine. Still, I do not see the scholarships as violating separation of church and state. The public “dollars” involved are taxes foregone. Church-affiliated schools often operate at a loss, so tuition scholarships will not yield profits to support other activities and presumably provide enough education to qualify as schools.

George Mason law professor Ilya Somin offers an illustrative comparison. No one worries that tax exemptions for religious charities or police and fire protection for churches constitute state support for religion. Tax deductions for scholarships do not establish a state religion.

Church-affiliated schools provide a variety of education consistent with their doctrine and moral teachings. The goal of school reform should be, as economist John Merrifield emphasizes, a diverse menu of options to suit students’ varied learning styles and parents’ values. Church-affiliated schools accomplish this.

School choice policies will make Americans more equal. Affluent Americans, who can afford private school tuition, have long enjoyed school choice.

American higher education features school choice. Alabamians can attend any of the state’s 14 four-year universities or more than 30 two-year colleges at in-state tuition rates. These institutions offer diverse educational options. Two-year colleges offer vocational programs and inexpensive core classes. Four-year universities include one modeled after a liberal arts school, large and small campuses, and numerous online degrees. Federal student aid and loans help make private colleges affordable.

By contrast, K-12 public schools require students to attend their assigned school. After paying taxes to support government schools, many families cannot afford private school tuition. The economic case for public education stresses ensuring all students can afford schooling, which school choice accomplishes.

Choices unleash quality-enhancing competition. Some of America’s best public schools are in affluent suburbs where districts must compete for students because parents can afford private schools. It is tempting to attribute suburban districts’ quality spending, but statistics show otherwise. In 2018, Baltimore city schools spent $250 less per pupil than Montgomery County (Maryland) and $1,000 more than Fairfax County (Virginia) in suburban Washington, two of America’s most affluent counties.

In time school choice will force beneficial changes in public school curriculum. Currently, the curriculum is a political football which both parties seek to control. Teachers educate children in classrooms; politicians in Montgomery or Washington shape learning only through bureaucratic controls forcing a curriculum on local schools. School choice will empower parents to find schools that help their children learn. To successfully compete for students, control will need to be devolved to schools and teachers, which I see as a very good thing.

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.

14 hours ago

VIDEO: More municipalities opt for mandatory masks, schools head towards in-class instruction, Sessions/Tuberville race nears the end and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Governor Kay Ivey consider a statewide mask ordinance as more municipalities adopt ordinances and pressure continues to mount?

— Are parents going to feel safe sending their kids to school in the Fall?

— Who will win the Republican runoff between former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville?

Jackson and Handback are joined by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss the runoff election for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

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Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at people who think the government can’t put in more restrictions when they have shown they can, and probably will, do more if the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t get under control.

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

16 hours ago

Alabama sisters continue their family’s farming legacy

Sisters Allie Corcoran and Cassie Young loved growing up on a farm in Eufaula, but once they left home and earned their degrees at Auburn University, they realized their hearts were still at the family farm.

“I always knew I wanted to come home and be part of the farm, but I didn’t know where I would fit in,” Young said. “The only things I have ever felt close to, or had a desire to be a part of, were farming and working with people. At Auburn, I considered a career in family and adolescent counseling, but I knew it would be difficult to find work in this field near home and I was unwilling to move.”

When the sisters were growing up, their family raised crops such as cotton, peanuts, soybeans, corn, grain sorghum and wheat, along with cattle. The family managed a peach orchard.

Their childhood experiences and love of farming pushed them to find their eventual calling, and they opened Backyard Orchards near Eufaula in 2010.

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“Our father had the idea to start a u-pick operation,” Young said. “We had an exciting concept for a new family venture and found the perfect location, so we decided to become entrepreneurs.”

Backyard Orchards gave the sisters the path they longed for in fitting into the family business. They offer u-pick and freshly packed produce.

Fruits currently ripe for picking are peaches and blueberries. There is a variety of fresh vegetables available, including potatoes, onions, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, field corn, sweet corn, peppers, peas and okra.

There is an onsite cafe that serves homemade pies, fudge and ice cream – the perfect end to a day on the farm. The barn, pavilion and grounds can be rented for weddings, birthday parties, corporate events and more.

Under COVID-19 safety measures, visitors are not required to have a reservation, but should follow these guidelines:

  • Stay with your group and remember to social distance while in the fields and store.
  • When the store is busy and social distance is challenged, send one group representative into the store to pay for and/or order food and ice cream.
  • There are sinks for handwashing located in the restrooms. Hand sanitizer is located throughout the store.
  • Pick up café orders from the window located outside on the front porch.

The orchards allowed the sisters to carry on the traditions from childhood that they always dreamed of passing on to their own children.

“Some of my fondest memories are the simplest ones involving our whole family: playing in the cottonseed and corn, jumping on hay bales and cotton modules, riding around with my dad to check on pivots or crops and playing in the irrigation with my sisters and cousins,” Young said. “Farming is a difficult life, but the family experiences have made it a wonderful life.”

Young and her husband have three children: Gardner, 10, Sterling, 7, and Cade, 4.

“Gardner has been picking squash with me since he was a baby,” Young said. “He now helps his dad pick and sell watermelons. Sterling wants to start helping me at the local farmers market. Cade is still too young to help on the farm, but he loves to eat the ice cream.”

Young sees them creating memories and experiences like she had with her sister as a child.

“I hope they all want to play a role in either the orchard or the family farm one day, but only if that is where their hearts lead them,” she said. “Right now, they are growing up the same way I did and enjoying the simple joys of childhood on the farm.”

The sisters continue looking for ways to enhance the orchards and develop the business. Plans are in place for planting blackberries, expanding the peach orchard and increasing the strawberries plants.

To learn more about Backyard Orchards and plan a family outing, visit the website or follow them on Facebook.

(Courtesy of Alabama News Center)

21 hours ago

Alabama native Rachel Baribeau is Changing the Narrative and expanding her own

Sportscasting is a tough business for anyone, but has been traditionally even more difficult for women. That’s why the change in direction for Rachel Baribeau won’t make sense … until you hear her explain it.

“I am always evolving – as a woman, as a queen, as a daughter and a friend and as a fiancee and a future wife – I am always trying to be better. I’m a lifelong learner.”

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Rachel Baribeau is Changing the Narrative in college sports and beyond from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The Auburn graduate and former Pell City resident had a career many would consider perfect: covering SEC football and other sports, from the sidelines and from her college football talk show on Sirius/XM (where she was the network’s first female college sports host).

Baribeau was well-respected enough among her peers to be granted a Heisman Trophy ballot. But it was her work away from the microphone that made the most noise.

“The idea that there is royalty inside of all of us; that there is legacy and purpose and greatness.” Baribeau beams as she describes the impact of the conversations she had been having with college athletes.

Changing the Narrative” was Baribeau’s passion project – a movement that promotes positive mental health and inspiring people to build a positive legacy for others. She took her “Purpose – Passion – Platform” message on a nationwide tour of college football programs, filled with candid heart-to-heart conversations.

After spending four years on this consulting journey, Baribeau announced last October that she would be walking away from sports to concentrate on Changing the Narrative full time.

“I started with this desire and belief that athletes could trend for something other than bad news,” Baribeau said.

Now a nonprofit, Changing the Narrative has expanded further. Baribeau is now in demand in locker rooms, board rooms, law enforcement agencies and entire athletic conferences. “We already have the Big Ten on board; how great would it be to be in all of the Power Five conferences?”

Baribeau is scaling the program in several ways. First, the pandemic has forced a shift to more online training and modules. Second, the material is being tweaked to skew younger for high school audiences. Finally, Baribeau is training a network of other speakers including former athletes who can bring their own experiences of Changing the Narrative to even more audiences.

(Courtesy of Alabama News Center)

21 hours ago

Alabama entrepreneurs can apply now for Walmart’s Open Call for products

Walmart’s seventh annual Open Call is underway for entrepreneurs dreaming of landing U.S.-manufactured products on Walmart shelves by successfully pitching their wares to company officials during online meetings.

“Walmart’s Annual Open Call event gives us a unique occasion to identify new suppliers who can meet our customers’ needs with unique and innovative products manufactured or produced in the U.S.,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for Global Sourcing and U.S. Manufacturing.

“During this year of unprecedented challenges for U.S. businesses, Walmart remains committed to sourcing products made, grown or assembled in the U.S.,” Phillips said.

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In 2013, Walmart announced a 10-year commitment to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs. Walmart’s Open Call is one way the company continues to invest in the commitment.

“By Investing in products that support American jobs, we are able to bring new exciting products to our customers, support new jobs in our local communities and invest in small business across the country,” Phillips said.

The Open Call, scheduled for Oct. 1, kicks off Walmart’s celebration of U.S. Manufacturing Month and will include programming similar to previous years. In addition to one-on-one pitch meetings with Walmart buyers, participants will have an opportunity to hear directly from Walmart executives and learn from company leaders during small breakout sessions designed to inform, empower and encourage suppliers.

“For the first time, this year’s Open Call event will be virtual, enabling even broader participation from potential new suppliers,” Phillips said. “We know how important this opportunity is for many small businesses, especially this year, and we are looking forward to seeing the new product submissions and meeting potential new suppliers.”

This year’s Open Call attendees could secure deals ranging from a handful of stores in local markets to supplying hundreds, or even thousands, of stores, Sam’s Clubs and on Walmart.com.

Gwen Hurt, owner of Shoe Crazy wine, participated in Walmart’s 2018 Open Call, where a Walmart buyer decided to test her product in 66 stores.

“We were walking into an entirely new and welcoming world,” said Hurt. “Everyone was so professional and kind throughout the process.”

“We’ve been thrilled to work with Walmart and are excited about the continual growth of our product,” Hurt continued. “Thanks to this relationship, we’ve been able to expand our operations to 15 employees while reinvesting in our community through the purchase of a once-abandoned warehouse and additional resources.”

“It’s a dream come true for our family,” Hurt said. Walmart is expanding Shoe Crazy Wine to 118 stores across Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.

The deadline to apply to participate in this year’s Open Call for U.S.-manufactured products is Aug. 10. The application and information about the event are at Walmart-jump.com.

Information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart.