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


 

 

 

 

 

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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.

42 mins ago

6 suggestions to protect yourself from stimulus check scams

Congress moved quickly to help the American public with a $2 trillion stimulus bill.

Unfortunately, fraud experts believe scammers will move just as quickly to try to take your share away. The key is to arm yourself with information.

“No doubt, there will be fake messages that will make countless claims,” said Don White, head of Corporate Security at Regions Bank. “Scammers may text, email or call you, asking for your banking information or claiming they can process your stimulus payment for you. Don’t take the bait. Do not, under any circumstance, give away your personal information via text, email or phone to someone you do not know who is soliciting you.”

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The bipartisan legislation to boost the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic includes economic relief for American taxpayers in the form of stimulus checks. Each eligible adult will receive up to $1,200, based on gross income.

According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the checks could go out in the next two weeks, although there are still questions as to how the money will be distributed. For example, someone who received a refund on 2019 taxes via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) could receive a direct deposit.

Meanwhile, scammers are ready to take advantage by reaching out and saying your account information is needed, or that you can have their relief check for a small fee.

To avoid fraud, consider these suggestions:

1. Hang up. Don’t reply. The IRS, Treasury Department or other government agencies will not call, email or text message people to collect account information, Social Security numbers or credit card information. Anyone who does is likely a scammer, White said.

2. Do not pay anyone offering to get your stimulus funds early or sell you additional stimulus checks. This is a promise that they will not be able to fulfill.

3. Enroll in your bank’s or credit card company’s online and mobile applications to monitor your account activity frequently, looking for suspicious activity.

4. Avoid clicking on unknown links, which may expose you to viruses or malware.

5. While online, verify the legitimacy of websites you visit.

– Turn on browser tools, which can help identify fraudulent websites.

– Ensure the websites are secure and encrypted with HTTPS.

– Look for links that are broken or take you away from the original website.

– Shop through websites you know and trust.

6. As always, slow down, verify, and verify again the legitimacy of financial transactions before approving. Look for changes to account numbers, phone numbers, email addresses or other identifying information.

“We are seeing a spike in fraud activity during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jon Kucharski, Fraud Strategy Manager at Regions. “No matter what this payment winds up being, only scammers will ask you to pay to get it. Just keep in mind, these unusual times require patience and a little extra vigilance to keep your finances safe.”

(Courtesy of Regions)

1 hour ago

‘Don’t let the corona get on ya!’ — Alabama retirees sing during COVID-19 crisis

An Alabama retirement community shared a helpful message on social media this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a video posted on Facebook, residents of Wesley Gardens Retirement Community in Montgomery joined with facility driver Lee McBryde (while practicing social distancing by staying six steps away) to dance and sing some important lyrics during the COVID-19 crisis such as properly washing hands and covering up when coughing and sneezing to help prevent the spread.

“Don’t let the corona get on ya!” McBryde sang as residents danced around him while holding containers of disinfectant wipes.

Watch:

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Birmingham meal prep business offers buy one, give one to help feed those in need

During the novel COVID-19 economic and health crisis, one Birmingham based small business has created a way to give back. Mealfit, a catering and meal preparation company, is donating a free meal to someone in need for every meal that is ordered.

Each customer who purchases a meal for themselves will be offered an opportunity to identify someone who may be in need. Mealfit will provide a meal to those in need at no additional costs.

Mealfit founder and CEO Thomas Cox launched the program as a way to help the community during a time of need.

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“I’ve been racking my brain as a small business owner on how I can provide high-quality, healthy food in a time when people are stuck at home, while also helping people who are in need,” said Cox.

“Everyone has someone who is in need whether it be an elderly person, a single parent or someone who has been laid off because of the crisis we are going through. So from now until further notice, every time you order your Mealfit meals, we will give to a family in need,” Thomas stated.

Customers can order through the company website by 12:00 p.m. on Sunday and pick up food between 4:00-5:00 p.m. on Monday at one of 17 different locations in Birmingham. Once an order is placed the customer can simply respond to their confirmation email and identify the name, number of family members, phone number and email of the person they would like to have a free meal. Mealfit will handle the rest.

Cox only has one small request for the greater Birmingham community: “We ask that you spread the word. We can’t reach everyone on our own, but with your help, we can reach more of the people who are in need that we aren’t directly connected with.”

Go to this website and order food for you and your family. 

2 hours ago

Jefferson County: Recovering elderly COVID-19 patients must be returned to their nursing homes

The Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) is asking nursing homes in the area to take back patients still testing positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter brought to light by the Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA).

The leading studies available have shown that COVID-19 is much more deadly for people over 65 than any other age group.

ANHA communications director John Matson told Alabama Media Group that the new county guidelines go “against sound medical advice.”

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The JCDH cites “the possibility that our hospitals will not have the capacity to care for a large number of patients infected with COVID-19” as the reason for nursing homes to take in the coronavirus-positive patients.

According to the department, individuals testing positive for the virus will only be returned to a nursing home if two conditions are both met:

  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
  • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

The department added that some patients may be returned before those conditions are met if their facility is able to adopt certain extra precautions.

Because the new guidelines are being issued by the Jefferson County Department of Health, they only apply to nursing homes in Jefferson County.

Additionally, patients hospitalized without COVID-19 symptoms do not have to test negative before being readmitted to their nursing home.

“For weeks we haven’t allowed family members and volunteers to visit our nursing homes, and our families understand why,” Matson told Alabama Media Group.

“Now they can’t visit, but we’re supposed to admit someone that’s COVID-19 positive?” Matson added.

The Jefferson County Health Department is assuring the public that it is following guidelines laid out by the CDC.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

Ainsworth: A little effort can make a big difference in the fight against the COVID-19 virus

Every American was a bit disappointed when the White House announced this week that social distancing guidelines will remain in place at least until April 30, and some governors across the nation have mandated that statewide shelter-in-place orders may be enforced until the end of June.

Working from home, avoiding contact with others and venturing into public only when absolutely necessary can make life seem much like the Bill Murray movie, “Groundhog Day.” Each day, the temptation to break a social distancing guideline becomes a little harder to resist and the desire to ignore protocols and immediately return to your normal routine becomes that much greater.

But facts, statistics and simple, everyday hard truths demand that we not only hold the course in the fight against COVID-19, but also practice stricter self-discipline in how we act and what we do.

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As this column is being written, Alabama is teetering on the edge of its 1,000th documented case of Coronavirus, and 19 of our fellow Alabama citizens have already succumbed to the deadly sickness.

Every indicator points to the situation getting significantly worse in our state before it begins to improve, and President Trump has ordered additional ventilators sent to Alabama from the national stockpile in order to prepare for what awaits us.

If current trends continue, Alabama’s healthcare resources will likely be pushed beyond capacity by the end of the month, and the number of hospital and ICU beds that are needed will exceed the total number we have in the state.

The good news is that Alabamians can prove all of these projections and possible doomsday scenarios wrong if we just use common sense, take self-responsibility, and follow the rules that health professionals suggest.

Too many among us are still refusing to take the COVID-19 crisis seriously, and by doing that, they threaten their own lives along with the lives of everyone they love and everyone they meet.

Since Gov. Kay Ivey declared the state’s Gulf Coast beaches closed in order to enforce social distancing, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has reported a dramatic surge in weekend traffic on Alabama’s lakes and rivers.

My family and I live by Lake Guntersville, and we have noticed the massive groups of people congregating together, jumping from party boat to party boat, and ignoring every rule about social distancing and self-isolation that the Center for Disease Control has asked us to follow.

It may come as a surprise to these weekend revelers, but sun, water and cold beer are not effective vaccines against COVID-19.

For proof of this fact, just look toward the group of University of Wisconsin-Madison students who spent their Spring Break in Gulf Shores in mid-March. Upon their return north, several of the students have displayed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19, and all of them are currently under quarantine.

Each time an individual or family decides to strictly follow CDC guidelines and do their part in the fight against coronavirus, the numbers bend in our direction, and all of us get that much closer to safely resuming normalcy.

Assuming Alabama has a daily infection rate of 20%, trends show that we can expect to have more than 245,000 total cases of COVID-19 by May 1, but if through discipline and resolve we can reduce that daily growth to 10%, a little more than 9,000 cases will occur. At 5% growth, we have only 1,600.

In other words, just a little effort and diligence from all of us can make a tremendous difference. Social distancing is recommended because the virus that causes COVID-19 can travel at least three feet when coughed or sneezed, and it can live on surfaces for days.

The rules for social distancing are easy to understand and follow, and they require you to remain at least six feet away from others, wash your hands frequently with soap, sanitize and wipe down surfaces, stay at home to stop the spread, and self-quarantine and contact your physician if you experience symptoms.

President Trump was wise to extend the social distancing requirements for at least another month, but all of us look forward to the day when future extensions will not be necessary. To accomplish that goal, we must each remember three simple things – stay smart, stay healthy and, most importantly, stay home.

Will Ainsworth is the lieutenant governor of Alabama and serves as an appointed member of Gov. Kay Ivey’s COVID-19 Task Force.