Pastor Harry Reeder: The Museum of the Bible is a great idea…provided we don’t worship the Bible


 

 

 

 

 

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Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to an article out of Christianity Today. Let me give you a quote: “’It was surprising to us that a book this influential didn’t have a major museum focused on it,’ says Steve Green, Hobby Lobby president and the Museum of Bible founder.

DR. REEDER: Tom, they have just spent, wow, $500 million to make a museum that depicts and presents the facts, the history and the features concerning the Bible.

Of course, the Bible that, which we believe is the Word of God – it doesn’t become the Word of God, it is the Word of God – and so the history of the Bible certainly is appropriate.

I want to speak an affirming word about this project, Tom, with one caveat, but I also want to make a little bit of a counter statement concerning this initiative.

First of all, I understand it’s really well-done technologically, factually, historicity – an amazing project. This is my caveat: I haven’t experienced it, I haven’t looked at it, so I cannot, without some reservation, verify it, and the reservation is I just don’t know. I haven’t been there.

For instance, I remember everybody telling me, “This movie on Noah is coming out and you need to promote it in the church.” Well, thankfully, I had enough sense not to promote it until I saw it and, once I saw it, I said, “Are you kidding me? Promote it? If I could get a match, I’d probably burn the thing so I’m not going to promote it.”

But, given the reputation of Mr. Green and given the names of the people that I saw that were involved in this project, my sense is it’s probably well done.

Now, it is carefully done and I quote one of them, “We’re not trying to cram religion down people’s throat.”

I’m so grateful that Jesus crammed religion down into my heart because my heart wasn’t going in that direction and the way He crammed it into my heart was He first gave me a new heart that wanted it.

I understand what they’re saying – they’re trying to make a factual presentation about the Bible -and then let it speak for itself. I’m all for that. Here’s the problem with that, though, and so I’m finally going to get to my issue, here. The Bible can and does speak clearly in terms of what it says, but the Bible was made to be preached and taught. The Bible, in a sense, doesn’t speak for itself.

Remember the Ethiopian eunuch is reading Isaiah 53, the clearest text in the Old Testament about Jesus, and Phillip says, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” and he says, “How can I unless someone explained it?”

Faith comes by hearing – not reading, hearing the Word of God. It is through the foolishness of the message Bible preached that we are being saved – the Bible message of the Gospel that we are being saved.

There’s my caveat. Having said that, that doesn’t mean something like this museum cannot be inspirational, instructional, helpful and, by the way, a great tool that you can use to talk with people when you take them there or take groups there and go through it, given its factuality, its historicity and its accuracy.

Having said that, just stop and think about some of the facts, Tom. The Bible was put together over 1,600 years by 40 plus human authors and claims to have one author who worked through all the authors and those authors claim the same thing which is why they kept saying not “Thus saith Isaiah,” but “Thus saith the Lord,” or Jeremiah, “The Word of the Lord came to me.”

And, so, how did that happen? What were the dynamics of it? And, in God’s special providence, how was the Bible preserved so that we have a manuscript of the Bible with none of the original autographs, none of the original pieces, yet, through the multiplication of all the texts that we have – and you begin to do textual criticism, you easily arrive at an accurate rendition of the Word of God – everything has been so documented by God’s special act of providence as to how He has preserved this message that declares the glory of the triune God through the pre-imminence of Christ – the God who made us, who saves us and who sustains us.

Tom Lamprecht: Harry, there are places in the Scriptures where both apostles and angels were worshipped as they did the work of the Lord. Is there any fear that we could begin to idolize the Bible?

DR. REEDER: Tom, that’s a great question – it really is. You’re right. People are going to worship. People say, “Well, know, people need to start worshipping.” Oh, they do – just go watch a football game.

We have a relentless capacity and compulsion to worship and the question is not, “Are we going to worship?” The question is, “Will we worship the one who alone should be worshipped and will we worship Him rightly?”

Those are the two salient questions and you’re right: Two times in the Book of Revelation, John is so overwhelmed and compelled to worship, he falls down and starts worshipping an angel and the angel, both times, says, “Don’t do that. Worship God.” They tried to worship Peter and they tried to worship Paul and they said, “Don’t do that.” False worship is idolatry, idol latria, that is, false objects with worship – latria means “worship.”

And one of the things that we can become is Bibliolaters. The Bible isn’t there for us to worship. The Word of God is there to reveal the God of the Word. The Word of God reveals to us what you could never know from God’s general revelation in creation, but you need to know to worship Him, and what you need to know to be saved by Him and what you need to know in order to serve Him.

“All Scripture is God-breathed as inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproofing, correction that the men of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work.”

The Bible is God’s inerrant and sufficient message to us as to who He is, how I can be right with Him and how I can serve Him and be equipped for every good work.

Tom, the Bible is truth. Jesus said this, “Thy Word is truth,” so everything in the Bible is truth. Now, not all truth is in the Bible – there are facts of truth that we observe from general revelation, God’s creation, that are not in the Bible but they’re true and the Bible will give us a framework in which we can affirm their truthfulness.

All truth is not in the Bible, but all that is in the Bible is true. And that which is in the Bible is what is necessary for us to be able to affirm truth where the direction of truth leads us, which is the glory of God, by the grace of God, to be saved by God, through the Son of God by the power of the Spirit of God and that’s what the Word of God gives to us.

Tom Lamprecht: What I hear you saying is that people could misuse this new museum on the Bible if they so choose?

DR. REEDER: Well, yeah, and let me say this: The museum has been designed to put the facts out about the history and the features of the Bible and I’m glad for that, but you can’t stop there – otherwise, you would be drawn to the adoration of the Book. And we are people of the Book, but we are people of the Book that we might be the people of God. I think this is a great instrument.

I tell people, “You know, you need to get a Bible. And, by the way, don’t just get a Bible and put it on your coffee table and think it’s going to give out some vibrations and make your home sacred or something. No, get the Bible and then go to step two, read it. Then make sure that step three is always prevalent, and that is hear it.

Hear it faithfully preached because, with the preaching of it, Jesus, Himself, begins to speak.

And then what? Obey it. Don’t obey it thinking that your obedience will save you, but obey it because you love your Savior who saves you.

Don’t be hearers of the Word only, but be doers of the Word so that we become those who, again, are people of the Book and the Word of God takes us to the God of the Word as our creator, our redeemer, our sustainer, and the Lord of Glory is our life.

And thank you, O God, for giving us this Word of God. We wouldn’t worship it, but we would use it as You intended for us to worship You.

Tom Lamprecht: The Museum of the Bible opened on November the 17th. It’s situated just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol and two blocks from the National Mall and it is free.

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

Birmingham-Southern College to impose fee on unvaccinated students

Unless students of Birmingham-Southern College are vaccinated against COVID-19, those who attend the private liberal arts school will be forced to pay a $500 fee “to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining.”

In an email sent to students, the college announced its pandemic protocols for those returning to campus for the fall semester. In what appears to be an effort to encourage students to receive the vaccine, BSC told students it will levy a monetary charge against those who are unvaccinated. The school cited the need for funding to be applied toward COVID-related mitigation measures as a reason for the charge.

The email reads in part, “Due to the lack of federal funds for pandemic precautions this term, all students will initially be charged $500 for the fall term to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining. Students who are fully vaccinated prior to the beginning of fall term will receive an immediate $500 rebate.”

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The college announced in the email that it has also set separate move-in dates for vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

The College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA) has condemned the move as discriminatory against students who have chosen not to receive the vaccine.

“The College Republican Federation of Alabama condemns this obvious attack on students who are not vaccinated,” says CRFA chairman Clint Reid. “While vaccines are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 we are still a free society where one should not be held at ransom to the tune of $500 if they do not feel the vaccine is the best course of action for them. We call on Birmingham-Southern College to drop this outrageous fee.”

The college’s email goes on to direct students who have been immunized against the virus to complete a “Vaccination Report Form.” BSC stated that the school’s goal is to achieve an 85% vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff.

Portion of the email sent to BSC students as follows obtained by Yellowhammer News: 

Birmingham-Southern College did not respond to a request for comment. Yellowhammer News has inquired with the Attorney General’s Office regarding the legality of BSC’s guidelines and will provide updates accordingly.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

12 hours ago

Tim James: A house divided against itself cannot stand

Last week the discussion of COVID vaccination burst into the news and ripped the scab right off the wound exposing the divide among Alabamians about whether to vaccinate or not. We all know there can be tense moments among friends and family when the vaccine topic comes up especially when there are differing opinions in the room.

Well, last week the discussion hit a fever pitch on a grand scale and landed on the front pages of the national news outlets. According to news reports, in Alabama, there are about 2.5 to 3 million people that have CHOSEN NOT to take the vaccine out of the state’s population of 5.1 million. Approximately 60% of all Alabamians have made this their personal health choice.

I am writing this letter today to express my distaste for those bent on shaming people in which they disagree on the vaccine issue. They divide Alabamians into two classes: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The media’s contempt is in overdrive for anyone that dares to disagree and not blindly follow the government directives. So, they shame by spewing their poison proclaiming the unvaccinated are the problem. Their assertion of “Blame” by extension means the unvaccinated are responsible for the spread of COVID. If you want to blame someone or something, blame the virus and the makers of it. As everybody knows, it was not the bats.

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The problem is not the unvaccinated, but rather those spawning division among the population. It’s the BLAME GAME.

They shake their fingers in the face of millions of Alabama citizens for refusing to take the vaccine and are beside themselves when everyone does not fall in line like sheep. I guess the unvaccinated are the “New Deplorables.”

I’ve listened to their shaming long enough and felt it was time to stand up for millions of Alabamians that have made their decision, over the many months, NOT to take the vaccine. I fall into this category; however, like most families I have family members that have chosen TO take the vaccine. Alabamians know full well what is going on in their communities, local hospitals, nursing homes and churches. They are not ignorant to the medical realities and associated risks. Neither are they reckless or selfish.

Every unvaccinated person has considered whether to take the vaccine for months. They have discussed the matter with others, prayed about it and even may have tolled back and forth on the decision. In the end, their “call” was to not take the vaccine for their own personal reasons. I can’t help but wonder why so many vaccinated people lecture everyone else when they themselves have marginal health risk as they are the vaccinated class.

Has it occurred to them that their shaming is certain to follow children into the classroom in the form of bullying? Do they care about young women in childbearing years who are rightfully cautious about what goes into their bodies? It’s ironic that people that CHOOSE NOT to take the vaccine are labeled dissenters even though they are the majority in Alabama and cross all races and political lines.

Going forward I want to encourage people to take a deep breath and stand back from the situation. COVID, of course can be lethal, but at the same time the odds of fatality are extremely low. This is one of those times when we must not succumb to fear. Fear is the root from which anxiety and worry bud.

Fear is a weapon used to manipulate the public, and the press is its enabler. The Lord speaks to the issue of fear through the Apostle Paul. “For God hath not given a spirit of fear but of power and sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I also would like to take this opportunity to say something about Governor Ivey’s statement last week concerning unvaccinated Alabamians. She said, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

The unvaccinated people represent approximately 60% of the population in our state. The Governor’s comments triggered uncontrollable elation and gaiety from politicians and news anchors at CNN, NBC and others. As one could expect, President Biden and Dr. Fauci were ecstatic at Alabamians being scolded by their Governor over this issue. I believe the Governor’s comments were off-base. I also believe she likely misspoke in the heat of the moment; something any of us could do. As we navigate forward, we need to lower the tone and not take the bait of those whose goal is to sow seeds of division amongst Alabamians.

I have a message for the American press corps concerning their hysterical, fear-based coverage of the pandemic.

It’s a quote from Edward R. Murrow, the great broadcast journalist during the first half of the 20th century.

He effectively warned his fellow journalists what would happen if the free press became compromised. He wrote: “No one can terrorize a whole nation unless we are his accomplices.”

Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James, is a Greenville, Alabama businessman. He was a 2010 GOP candidate for governor.

13 hours ago

Regions names Jason Isbell senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development

Regions Bank has tapped one of the state’s foremost experts on banking law and government affairs to serve as senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development.

Jason Isbell comes to the Birmingham-based bank brandishing nearly two decades of legal and government affairs experience in the public and private sectors.

Elizabeth Taylor, head of government affairs and economic development for Regions, highlighted Isbell’s depth of knowledge and relationships throughout the industry.

“Regions Bank has a strong history of working with government leaders and other stakeholder groups on issues impacting our associates, customers and communities,” Taylor said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “Jason Isbell brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on a variety of financial services matters to this role. His work building relationships and navigating a myriad of legislative issues will serve us well. We look forward to his service advancing economic development opportunities that move our communities forward while also building on the strong relationships we have in the areas Regions serves.”

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Isbell most recently worked with Maynard Cooper & Gale where he represented a wide array of clients, including Regions, as an attorney and lobbyist in the firm’s Government Solutions Group.

Prior to his time at Maynard Cooper, he held the position of vice president for legal and governmental affairs at the Alabama Bankers Association (ABA). Isbell was charged with implementing ABA’s legislative and regulatory agendas at both the state and federal levels. He honed his skills in public policy during his 11 years in state government, first as a fiscal analyst for the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office and then as general counsel to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Isbell is a member of the Faulkner University board of trustees and is a graduate of the school’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law.

Regions Financial Corporation recently reported $748 million in second quarter earnings. The company cited strategic decisions in high-growth areas, such as Florida, Texas and Tennessee, as contributing to those earnings.

Isbell noted the momentum of the bank’s growth and influence throughout its footprint as he prepares for this new endeavor.

“I’m excited to represent an institution with such a rich history and stellar reputation,” he told Yellowhammer News. “Regions Bank is poised to continue making a positive impact on communities in Alabama and beyond. I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to being part of the Regions team.”

Isbell is set to officially join the bank in mid-August.

RELATED: Joia M. Johnson appointed to Regions board of directors

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

14 hours ago

State Rep. Wes Allen: Biden administration’s mixed message on COVID shows he doesn’t put Americans first

The Biden administration is issuing warnings to Americans regarding the increasing number of COVID cases across the country. Calls for a return to mask-wearing and social distancing are becoming more frequent from the President and his advisors.

Businesses, large and small, fear the possibility of mandated shutdowns that plagued our nation last year. Parents are wondering if they will be forced to face the inadequacies and challenges of remote schooling again. These are all worries that are being forced upon law-abiding, tax-paying Americans by the Biden administration.

But it goes further. Our northern border with Canada remains closed to non-essential travel for fear of spreading the virus. Biden and his team cited concerns over the Delta variant as the reason for banning travel from 26 nations including most of Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

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This all seems like a concerned President who is trying to save our nation from the death and damage of a pandemic. But a closer look at Biden’s policies proves that his concern is not for Americans and he has little to no desire to stop the spread of COVID from coming across our border.

His policy that allows thousands of illegal immigrants to move freely across our southern border and into our towns, neighborhoods, restaurants and schools without any regard for their immigration status or their COVID test results prove that the Biden administration doesn’t care about America or Americans. Is the health of Americans, the success of our economy and the fate of our schools and health care system of any concern to this President or his advisors?

I think not.

State Rep. Wes Allen is a Republican candidate for Alabama Secretary of State.

14 hours ago

Alabama League of Municipalities launches Economic Development Academy

The Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) on Thursday announced the creation of its Economic Development Academy, which will partner with local leaders in an educational capacity to offer their assistance regarding business and industry recruitment practices.

Developed in conjunction with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and supported by an advisory council of industry leaders, the Academy will engage local leaders and help them further understand their role in the economic development process.

The Academy is specifically designed to educate and engage municipal officials and designated community business leaders on best practices and strategies for successful economic and community development. Additionally, the ALM says the Academy will focus on the role of elected officials regarding evaluating abatements, legal processes and implications, correctly marketing the community, gaging the community’s expectations, workforce development as well as other key aspects of the development process.

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ALM says the Academy is unique from other economic development programs in that it is tailored to municipal officials using a team model. The mayor or another designated elected or administrative official and at least two council members are required to participate from each community to form a team of up to five members.

In promoting the new program, ALM executive director Greg Cochran conveyed the importance of economic development efforts that take place at the local level.

“Our organization is pleased to collaborate with the Alabama Community College System and Neal Wade to launch the ALM Economic Development Academy,” said Cochran. “It is our goal for the Academy to develop intentional programming and identify resources to empower our municipal officials so they can create legacy programs and projects within their cities and towns. Municipalities are the foundation of our state’s economy, and it is the League’s mission to provide our members the necessary tools to build a community where citizens can live, work, play and prosper and where businesses can thrive.”

The Academy will take place over a full year and consists of an orientation; four one-day sessions that include community assignments; and a special graduation ceremony. To graduate, participants must conduct an economic vitality survey of their communities; complete a community assessment/project; and attend all sessions.

At the conclusion of the year-long program, graduates will be presented a certificate of municipal economic development from the League and ACCS.

Neal Wade, former head of the Alabama Development Office as well as a consultant for Alabama Power, The St. Joe Company and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, has been tapped to develop the Academy’s curriculum and conduct the classes.

“The objective is for Alabama communities to be the best they can be and competitive for growth and new revenue,” Wade said. “Setting realistic expectations for each community will be foremost.”

In addition to working with Wade, the League has developed a partnership with ACCS to provide classroom space and workforce development resources for Academy participants. The four mandatory sessions for selected municipalities will be conducted at ACCS campuses throughout the state based on each region.

Chancellor Jimmy Baker praised the partnership and expressed his optimism on the potential growth opportunities he believes can stem from the Academy.

“At Alabama’s community colleges, everything we do is workforce development – from education and training to providing wraparound services and hosting community events,” Baker said. “We are honored to work alongside the Alabama League of Municipalities to launch the Economic Development Academy and host its participants at our campuses across the state. Education is so often the linchpin to positive change and the resources and training this effort will provide will have a positive impact on Alabama for years to come.”

An Academy Advisory Council has been developed to add input, assist with training and provide additional resources to the process. The Council consists of state and federal government agencies, ACCS presidents, utility partners, League strategic partners, local economic developers and statewide business associations.

Academy applications will be accepted via the League’s website July 29 – August 31. Applicants will be thoroughly evaluated and candidates chosen by mid-September. There is a community fee to participate.

Those interested in attending the Academy may apply via online application at almonline.org.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL