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


 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the 10 min. audio

 

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.

44 mins ago

Tuberville backs Alabama legislator’s bill making murder of on-duty first responder a capital offense

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville is backing HB 59, the bill passed by the Alabama Senate on Thursday that would make killing an on-duty first responder a capital offense.

The bill as amended and passed by the Senate names the proposed law in honor of slain Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sunday night.

Sponsored by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville), HB 59 passed the House previously. The amended version goes back to the chamber for expected concurrence next week.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Tuberville applauded the legislature for the bill, especially thanking the Senate for the amendment in Buechner’s memory, which was put onto the legislation by State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn).

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“I commend the Alabama Senate on their bill which makes the murder of an on-duty first responder a capital offense,” Tuberville said. “Murdering a first responder in Alabama should be classified as a capital offense. Not just police officers are covered in this bill all first responders are covered!”

The bill adds on-duty first responders to the list of murder victims that constitutes a capital offense. State law already makes the murder of an on-duty law enforcement officer or prison guard a capital offense.

Note the difference between a Class A felony murder charge and a capital murder charge: capital offenses in Alabama are punishable (unless the defendant was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime) by life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. Class A felonies are punishable by 10-99 years in prison, with stricter guidelines for offenders with prior criminal convictions.

Sells’ bill would also add on-duty law enforcement officers, prison guards and first responders as victims in the list of aggravating circumstances to a capital offense. This would make the death penalty more likely in the sentencing phase of this kind of capital offense.

In HB 59, first responders are defined as emergency medical services personnel licensed by the Alabama Department of Public Health and firefighters and volunteer firefighters as defined by existing state law.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes has said he will seek the death penalty if the man charged with Buechner’s death is convicted on a capital murder charge.

Tuberville’s vocal support for the bill came the same day as Buechner’s funeral.

“Today, as Officer William Buechner is laid to rest, we celebrate his heroic life and the ultimate sacrifice he made to protect our citizens,” Tuberville emphasized.

On Friday, Tuberville also visited Auburn Police Department Officer Webb Sistrunk, who was critically wounded in the shooting that killed Buechner.

(T. Tuberville/Facebook)

“It was such an honor for me to visit with Webb Sistrunk, one of the brave Auburn police officers who was shot earlier this week,” Tuberville shared.

Tuberville with Mark Sistrunk, the officer’s father (Contributed)

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

‘Our hero’: Slain Auburn officer’s neighborhood lights up blue to honor him

Neighbors of murdered Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner are backing the blue in a very visible way, honoring the fallen hero’s life of selfless service.

As reported by WSFA, the Opelika subdivision that Buechner and his family lived in is showing their solidarity en masse.

In a moving tribute, many of the neighborhood’s homes have replaced their regular porch lights with blue lights, shining proudly in Buechner’s memory.

Tracy McDaniel is among those neighbors paying tribute to the officer and beloved community member.

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Tracy McDaniel’s home, as contributed by her. (Sally Pitts/Facebook)

McDaniels’ home is far from the exception. One photo shows an entire street the neighborhood turned blue to honor the fallen officer.

Photo by Samantha Xaysombath Smith (WSFA/Twitter)

“William was a lot of great things. A great man, friend, husband, and father, police officer, neighbor, the list goes on,” Smith explained. “His son will grow up to learn that his daddy was a hero, and we will forever remember that he was our hero too.”

Another woman in the neighborhood, who asked to remain anonymous when speaking with WSFA, said she was aware of at least 15 homes participating in the special tribute but expected that number to increase.

“We all have rallied to find each other more lightbulbs,” the woman said, “and contact those who have been out of town or may need assistance reaching their fixtures. It’s been a true team effort.”

The lights are reportedly expected to remain on at least through Saturday, the day after Buechner’s funeral.

Buechner is survived by his wife of three years, Sara; son, Henry; and step-daughter, McKenna.

“This village we speak of, he knows we will take care of Sara and the family,” Smith added. “After all, it does take a village. We back the blue.”

There has been a GoFundMe set up for Buechner’s family.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Palmer introduces bill to stop federal funding of anti-ICE ‘sanctuary airports’

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) is taking a major stand against airports in liberal strongholds that try to subvert federal law.

Palmer’s office on Thursday announced that the Birmingham-area congressman has introduced the PLANE Act, the Prohibiting Local Airports from Neglecting Enforcement Act (H.R. 2955).

In April, an airport in Seattle, Washington, banned flights known collectively as “ICE Air,” which included flights that deported illegal immigrants or transported detainees to the appropriate detention center.

If passed, the PLANE Act would withhold federal grants from airports that violate grant agreements by attempting similar action, such as imposing unreasonable conditions or restrictions on airplanes operating under ICE or other contracted government agencies.

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“Airports that refuse to cooperate with ICE should not receive federal grants,” Palmer said in a statement.

“The rule of law must not be thwarted by so-called ‘sanctuary airports,’ especially when they potentially delay the removal of people accused of crimes like human trafficking and rape,” he added. “Political posturing cannot be permitted when an airport has agreed to cooperate with law enforcement in exchange for federal funds.”

Palmer is now serving as the chair the Republican Policy Committee, which is the fifth highest ranking leadership role amongst Republicans in the United States House of Representatives.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. VIII

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.

Enjoy.

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1. Hey Arnold! State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) caused a bit of a stir this week when he introduced a request to censure State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) for comments Rogers made during the chamber’s debate of the abortion bill. Numerous GOP House members were upset by the move, not so much for the substance of the request as much as for the timing — and the perceived motivation behind it.

The request came as the body was attempting to address a “ten-minute” calendar of bills. The aim of a ten-minute calendar is to quickly dispose of some of the more mundane pieces of legislation with the idea being that each member gets ten minutes to pass their bill or else the House moves on to the next item. As soon as Mooney introduced his letter of censure, the environment in the chamber became hostile, resulting in an adjournment and the end of the calendar. Dozens of members lost the opportunity, at that point at least, to pass their individual pieces of legislation, including an anti-human trafficking bill and legislation to help feed needy children in the state.

Some members wondered why Mooney waited nine days to introduce his letter. His letter was dated May 13 and not introduced until May 22. This event came on the heels of Mooney previously sending out a campaign letter to supporters questioning the ideological bearings of his fellow Republican legislators. When asked if Mooney had expressed any of these concerns to the GOP caucus at-large prior to his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, one member responded, “No. He had not.”

2. A tale of two cities. As Mooney spent the week trying to burnish the type of outsider credentials attractive to Club for Growth, another one of his colleagues spent his week in D.C. trying, presumably, to lay a similar foundation. State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) was boots on the ground in the nation’s capital this week. Dismukes has let it be known that he was contemplating his own run for the U.S. Senate. He has done a fair job of keeping those cards close to the vest, although his trip to Washington would lend to the notion that he continues to have interest in a federal office.

The mathematical side effect of Dismukes’ absence nearly reached a heightened level of consequence. Consideration of any legislation prior to the passage of both budgets requires a 3/5 vote of those in the body voting. The lottery failed this week because it did not receive the required 3/5 threshold of those voting. In Dismukes’ absence from the state, someone voted his machine on his behalf as an abstention rather than simply not voting at all. He was the only legislator to vote to abstain. This still raises the threshold of required votes.

There were 90 total members that voted — which means the lottery needed 54 votes to proceed. It only received 53. Had someone not voted Dismukes’ machine and 89 members had voted, the lottery would still have needed 54 votes but by a much slimmer margin since 3/5 of 89 equals 53.4. That’s how close the lottery came to advancing to full consideration by the House.

3. Is broadband really a priority for members of the Alabama House? While the state legislature’s budget negotiations have been relatively smooth so far this session, there is one major issue that has seemingly popped up at the last minute.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Senate Finance and Taxation Education Chairman Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) put $30 million in the Senate-passed Education Trust Fund Budget for the state’s rural broadband grant program established last year by State Senator Clay Scofield’s (R-Guntersville) landmark legislation.

As the legislature continues to work on beefing up last year’s legislation through Scofield’s SB 90 this year, the House is now seemingly set to slash the broadband funding approved by the Senate. The House Ways and Means Education Committee this week approved an education budget that cut the broadband funding by 73%, dragging the total down from $30 million to only $8 million.

Proponents of the larger number have said that there is not a better use of one-time money than to expand broadband services across the state. Will Chairman Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) and the House at-large work with the Senate and restore the important broadband funding?

4. Art of the Deal. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) once again proved his master negotiating skills this week, securing a crucial disaster relief package deal against seemingly insurmountable differences between the increasingly polarized factions in Washington, D.C.

This package will provide much-needed aid to many in the Yellowhammer State, including those in southeast Alabama devastated by Hurricane Michael.

Shelby bridged the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, while even managing to get President Donald Trump to drop his demands to include non-disaster related earmarks in the package — a concession that was key to getting enough votes in the Senate and House. The legislation quickly passed the Senate 85-8 Thursday before a lone House member objected to its unanimous passage on Friday. The House can take the legislation up after Memorial Day on Tuesday, when it is expected to overwhelmingly pass that chamber and then be signed into law.

One keen observer told Yellowhammer News that this type of achievement will not make nearly the number of headlines it should back at home, but once again Shelby has delivered for his state as he continues to cement his legacy as “Alabama’s greatest statesman.”

3 hours ago

Alabama legislature passes bill to ensure accuracy in meat labeling

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate on Thursday took steps to ensure that the definition of “meat” when applied to food labeling should only apply to products sourced from livestock on farms and ranches and harvested through processing; the bill clarifies that laboratory-grown products may not be labeled as meat, protecting Yellowhammer State consumers from potentially misleading packaging.

In a unanimous vote, the Senators passed HB 518, sponsored by State Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens) and State Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay). The bill was previously passed by the House 97-2 and now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk.

“This is proactive legislation to ensure clarity in food labeling. Around the country, there are more and more companies trying to market lab-grown products as meat, which is misleading since they aren’t derived from actual livestock production,” Sessions said in a statement.

Sessions pointed out that the nutritional and safety risks of foods developed in labs from animal cell cultures are still unknown.

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“These new lab-produced foods are, at best, synthetic meats, and their nutritional effects are unknown right now. Let’s see how the science develops through further research, and make a clear distinction between meat that is farm-raised on the one hand, and lab-based products on the other,” he advised.

The beef cattle industry represents a $2.5 billion industry in Alabama and is the number two agricultural commodity in the Yellowhammer State, with over 20,000 cattle farms. Beef continues to be a favorite protein among consumers worldwide, with exports of American beef representing an $8 billion industry by itself.

“The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association represents over 10,000 members across the state. As alternative proteins enter the marketplace in coming years, we think it is imperative that the integrity of all meat labels are protected and clear for consumers when they go to the meat case,” Erin Beasley, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattleman’s Association, commented.

She concluded, “The passage of this bill is a win-win for the consumers who love to buy beef, and the cattlemen who work hard to produce a high-quality product. We would like to thank the Alabama Legislature for the support of this bill, and especially Senator David Sessions and Representative Danny Crawford for carrying the bill.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn