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.

 
12 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead 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:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

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.

15 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@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.

20 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

sylacauga marble

The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

20 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

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.